A field experiment to assess the transplant success of salt marsh plants into tidal wetlands

  • Published source details Thomsen D., Marsden I.D. & Sparrow A.D. (2005) A field experiment to assess the transplant success of salt marsh plants into tidal wetlands. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 13, 489-497.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Directly plant non-woody plants: brackish/saline wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Directly plant non-woody plants: brackish/saline wetlands

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1998 of a salt marsh near Christchurch, New Zealand (Thomsen et al. 2005) reported 0–100% survival of planted herbs after nine months, and that surviving plants had a similar biomass to those in a nearby natural marsh. Statistical significance was not assessed. Three-square bulrush Schoenoplectus pungens did not recover following the expected winter die-back, two months after planting. In contrast, 100% of planted wire rush Leptocarpus similis and 73% of planted sea rush Juncus maritimus were alive, but appeared stressed, after nine months. Surviving wire rush and sea rush had a dry above-ground biomass of 0.08–0.19 g/plant, compared to 0.12–0.22 g/plant in a nearby natural marsh. Methods: In March 1998, the three herb species were planted into thirty-six 0.25-m2 plots (12 plots/species; four plants/plot) within an estuarine salt marsh. The plots started as bare sediment: half were re-filled with marsh mud and half were re-filled with treated sewage/industrial waste. Within each plot, two plants were sourced from a nearby marsh and two were nursery-reared. All plants were clipped to 20 cm height. Plots were regularly cleared of debris. Planted vegetation was monitored for up to nine months. Biomass was estimated from height measurements.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

Output references
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