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Centuries of human-driven change in salt marsh ecosystems
Gedan, K.B.; Silliman, B.R.; Bertness, M.D. (2009). Centuries of human-driven change in salt marsh ecosystems, in: Carlson, C.A. et al. (Ed.) Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci. 1. Annual Review of Marine Science, 1: pp. 117-141.
In: Carlson, C.A.; Giovannoni, S.J. (Ed.) (2009). Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci. 1. Annual Review of Marine Science, 1. Annual Reviews: Palo Alto. ISBN 978-0-8243-4501-3. 466 pp., more
In: Annual Review of Marine Science. Annual Reviews: Palo Alto, Calif. ISSN 1941-1405, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Climate change; Ecosystems; Eutrophication; Reclamation; Restoration; Marine
Author keywords
    ecosystem services; reclamation; eutrophication; consumer control;climate change; restoration

Authors  Top 
  • Gedan, K.B.
  • Silliman, B.R.
  • Bertness, M.D.

    Salt marshes are among the most abundant, fertile, and accessible coastal habitats on earth, and they provide more ecosystem services to coastal populations than any other environment. Since the Middle Ages, humans have manipulated salt marshes at a grand scale, altering species composition, distribution, and ecosystem function. Here, we review historic and contemporary human activities in marsh ecosystems-exploitation oil of plant products; conversion to farmland, salt works, and urban land; introduction of non-native species; alteration of coastal hydrology; and metal and nutrient pollution. Unexpectedly, diverse types of impacts can have a similar consequence, turning salt marsh food webs upside down, dramatically increasing top down control. Of the various impacts, invasive species, runaway consumer effects, and sea level rise represent the greatest threats to silt marsh ecosystems. We conclude that the best way to protect salt marshes and the services they provide is through the integrated approach of ecosystem-based management.

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