|Relationships between vegetation zonation and environmental factors in newly formed tidal marshes of the Yangtze River estuary|He, Y.; Li, X.; Craft, C.; Ma, Z.; Sun, Y. (2011). Relationships between vegetation zonation and environmental factors in newly formed tidal marshes of the Yangtze River estuary. Wetlands Ecol. Manag. 19(4): 341-349. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11273-011-9220-8
In: Wetlands Ecology and Management. Springer: Den Haag; Dordrecht; Hingham, MA; Amsterdam. ISSN 0923-4861, more
Scirpus mariqueter; Spartina alterniflora [WoRMS]; Marine
Tidal marshes; Salinity; Spartina alterniflora ; Scirpus mariqueter ; Yangtze River estuary
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The Yangtze River delta is characterized by rapidly accreting sediments that form tidal flats that are quickly colonized by emergent vegetation including Scirpus mariqueter and the invasive species Spartina alterniflora. We measured soil surface elevation, water table depth, soil salinity, water content and compaction in the tidal flat, the Scirpus and Spartina zones and their borders to identify relationships between environmental factors and colonization by Scirpus and Spartina. With increasing elevation from tidal flat to Spartina, inundation frequency and duration, moisture and depth to water table decreased whereas soil salinity, temperature and compaction increased. High soil moisture and groundwater and low salinity were the characteristics of the tidal flat and its border with Scirpus. The Spartina zone and its border with Scirpus were characterized by greater salinity and elevation relative to the other zones. Our findings suggest that soil salinity controls patterns of plant zonation in the newly formed tidal salt marshes whereas elevation is of secondary importance. Our results suggest that patterns of vegetation zonation in tidal marshes of the Yangtze River delta are controlled by environmental factors, especially (low) salinity that favors colonization by Scirpus in the lower elevations of the marsh.