Marsh vertical accretion via vegetative growth

Marsh vertical accretion via vegetative growth,10.1016/j.ecss.2006.05.041,Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science,John A. Nyman,Russel J. Walters,Ronald D

Marsh vertical accretion via vegetative growth   (Citations: 24)
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Coastal marshes accrete vertically in response to sea-level rise and subsidence. Inadequate accretion and subsequent conversion of coastal marshes to open water generally is attributed to inadequate mineral sedimentation because mineral sedimentation is widely assumed to control accretion. Using 137Cs dating to determine vertical accretion, mineral sedimentation, and organic matter accumulation, we found that accretion varied with organic accumulation rather than mineral sedimentation across a wide range of conditions in coastal Louisiana, including stable marshes where soil was 80% mineral matter. These results agreed with previous research, but no mechanism had been proposed to explain accretion via vegetative growth. In an exploratory greenhouse experiment, we found that flooding stimulated root growth above the marsh surface. These results indicated the need for additional work to determine if flooding controls accretion in some marshes by stimulating root growth on the marsh surface, rather than by mineral accumulation on the marsh surface. Restoration or management that focus on mineral sedimentation may be ineffective where a relationship between accretion and mineral sedimentation is assumed rather than tested.
Journal: Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science - ESTUAR COAST SHELF SCI , vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 370-380, 2006
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