Transplant or replace blocks of vegetation: brackish/salt marshes

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects, on vegetation, of transplanting or replacing blocks of brackish/salt marsh vegetation. The study was in Australia.


  • Community composition (1 study): One replicated, controlled, site comparison study in an estuarine salt marsh in Australia found that areas where sods of saltwater couch Sporobolus virginicus were transplanted had a similar overall plant community composition to areas without transplants, after 3–4 years. The plant community in the transplanted areas was >70% similar to natural areas in only 4 of 12 comparisons.




About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, controlled, site comparison study in 2004–2007 of four areas of an estuarine salt marsh in New South Wales, Australia (Green et al. 2009) found that transplanting sods of the dominant marsh plant saltwater couch Sporobolus virginicus had no significant effect on plant community composition. After 3–4 years, the overall plant community composition was statistically similar in degraded areas planted with saltwater couch sods and degraded areas that had not been planted (data reported as a graphical analysis). Where saltwater couch was not transplanted, it spread from remnant patches in and around the study area. In 4 of 12 comparisons over three years, planted areas contained a plant community that was >70% similar to natural reference areas (vs 2 of 12 comparisons for unplanted areas). Methods: Between 2003 and mid-2004, four degraded areas of tidal salt marsh around a lagoon were restored using multiple interventions, including fencing to exclude vehicles and filling eroded patches with sediment. Two of these degraded areas were also planted with sods of saltwater couch (100 cm2; 1 m apart) cut from nearby natural marshes. Two additional areas of natural, undisturbed salt marsh were used for comparison. Plant species and cover were surveyed six times between July 2004 (after intervention) and April 2007. Each survey used fifty 1-m2 quadrats/area.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Taylor N.G., Grillas P., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Marsh and Swamp Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions to Conserve Marsh and Swamp Vegetation. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

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Marsh and Swamp Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Marsh and Swamp Conservation
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Marsh and Swamp Conservation - Published 2021

Marsh and Swamp Synopsis

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