Introduce nurse plants to aid focal non-woody plants: brackish/saline wetlands

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

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects, on vegetation, of introducing nurse plants to brackish/saline wetlands planted with emergent, non-woody plants. The study was in the USA.








  • Germination/emergence (1 study): One replicated, controlled study in an estuary in the USA reported that planting nurse plants had no effect on germination of sown arrowgrass Triglochin concinna. No seedlings were found around nurse plants or on bare sediment.

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 study in 2001 in an estuary in California, USA (Zedler 2003) reported that planting nurse plants before sowing seeds of arrowgrass Triglochin concinna had no effect on its germination. In the growing season after sowing, no arrowgrass seedlings were found – whether seeds were sown under nurse plants or onto bare sediment. The study suggests that high temperatures, high salinities and thick mats of microorganisms may have limited germination across the site. Methods: In March 2001, sets of 25 arrowgrass seeds were sown onto an area of recently reprofiled intertidal sediment. Of these, 288 sets were sown under planted adult nurse plants (alkali heath Frankenia salina, salt marsh daisy Jaumea carnosa or California sea lavender Limonium californicum; single plants or single-species clusters). A further 144 sets were sown onto bare sediment. All seeds sets were covered with burlap fabric after sowing. Any nurse plants that died were replaced. Seedlings were counted over the 2001 growing season.

    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?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

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

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust