Modeling the dynamics of salt marsh development in coastal land reclamation

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 



The valuable ecosystem services of salt marshes are spurring marsh restoration projects around the world. However, it is difficult to determine the final vegetated area based on physical drivers. Herein, we use a 3D fully coupled vegetation-hydrodynamic-morphological modeling system (COAWST), to simulate the final vegetation cover and the timescale to reach it under various forcing conditions. Marsh development in our simulations can be divided in three distinctive phases: a preparation phase characterized by sediment accumulation in the absence of vegetation, an encroachment phase in which the vegetated area grows, and an adjustment phase in which the vegetated area remains relatively constant while marsh accretes vertically to compensate for sea level rise. Sediment concentration, settling velocity, sea level rise and tidal range each comparably affect equilibrium coverage and timescale in different ways. Our simulations show that the Unvegetated-Vegetated Ratio (UVVR) also relates to sediment budget in marsh development under most conditions.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Modeling the dynamics of salt marsh development in coastal land reclamation
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1029/2021GL095559
Volume 49
Issue 6
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description e2021GL095559, 11 p.
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