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Conference Papers Year : 2021

Saltmarsh biogeomorphology across scales: implications for conservation, habitat restoration and ecosystem services delivery

Clementine Chirol

Abstract

Nature-based solutions are among the most promoted strategies for mitigating and adapting to the consequences of the climate crisis (Cohn et al., 2021; Keesstra et al., 2018). Coastal saltmarshes have a notable role to play due to the high number of ecosystem services they provide, including carbon storage and the mitigation of coastal erosion and flooding. However, saltmarshes are also complex dynamic systems that are highly vulnerable to population pressures and to the impacts of sea-level rise, and have faced significant losses worldwide (Davidson, 2014). Efficient management of our remaining saltmarshes and restoration of the degraded ones can only be achieved through a holistic understanding of saltmarsh processes. To understand saltmarsh functioning, it is necessary to consider multiple spatial scales, from soil-root interactions belowground at the subcentimeter scale, to vegetation distribution and topographical variations within a saltmarsh, all the way to the geomorphology of the coastline (Brooks et al., 2020). Considering biogeomorphological interactions across scales is a technical as well as an intellectual challenge : technical, because different imaging techniques are required to visualize these structures (ex. aerial imagery and lidar for landscape-scale observation of a marsh surface, computed tomography for a µm to cm scale observation of the subsurface environment); intellectual, because the dominant drivers of saltmarsh functioning vary with scale, which complexifies the development of a holistic conceptual framework (Wang et al., 2017). This talk will summarize the biogeomorphological processes that control saltmarsh development and stability, and explore how a multi-scale understanding of these processes can inform saltmarsh restoration choices. Using examples from the US, Europe and China, we will highlight the evolution in design strategies for saltmarsh restoration schemes since the 1970s. We will give particular focus to recent restoration schemes in the UK that involved significant landscaping such as the excavation of creek networks, and discuss advances in monitoring techniques. Lessons learnt from these past projects allow us to address recent concerns over ecosystem services delivery in restored saltmarshes: will these habitats provide equivalent services to their natural counterparts? How resilient can we expect them to be in the face of climate change? References: Brooks et al. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (2020); Cohn et al. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (2021); Davidson, Marine and Freshwater Research (2014); Keesstra et al., Science of the Total Environment (2018); Wang et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface (2017)
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Dates and versions

hal-04311191 , version 1 (28-11-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-04311191 , version 1

Cite

Clementine Chirol. Saltmarsh biogeomorphology across scales: implications for conservation, habitat restoration and ecosystem services delivery. International Symposium of COastal Resources and Environment (CORE21), ZHOU, Zeng, Hohai University, China; MUDD, Simon, University of Edinburgh, UK; HU, Zhan, Sun Yat-Sen University, China; MÖLLER, Iris, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; GONG, Zheng, Hohai University, China, Oct 2021, En ligne, China. ⟨hal-04311191⟩
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