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Restoration of intertidal habitats by the managed realignment of coastal defences, UK
Garbutt, Angus (2005). Restoration of intertidal habitats by the managed realignment of coastal defences, UK, in: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19: pp. 547-555
In: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. XIV, 685 pp., more
In: VLIZ Special Publication. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISSN 1377-0950, more

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Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Restoration; Salt marshes; ANE, British Isles [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Garbutt, Angus

Abstract
    In the United Kingdom, coastal defence has been the primary driver of intertidal habitat restoration. Rising sea levels, coupled with the high cost of maintaining coastal defences, have led coastal managers to look for more cost effective and sustainable methods of coastal protection. Managed realignment, the landward retreat of coastal defences and subsequent tidal inundation of formally reclaimed land, has since the early 1990’s, been increasingly used to fulfil these requirements. Results from several managed realignment schemes have shown that with fairly minimal pre-treatment and management, by allowing tidal ingress through a simple relatively small breach, the landward realignment of coastal defences will quickly produce intertidal mudflats on low-lying agricultural land which are colonised by invertebrates and, given the appropriate elevation, saltmarsh plants. What is unclear, however, is the time scale needed to produce intertidal habitats that are equivalent to reference conditions or if equivalency can indeed ever be reached. To date, most research effort has concentrated on monitoring the biological and physical development of realignment sites. This paper presents the results of a survey of saltmarshes that have developed on formally reclaimed land as a result an accidental breach in the embankment. These marshes are used as analogues for managed realignment and may give an indication of the future trajectories of current saltmarsh creation efforts.

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