Use of seagrass wrack in restoring disturbed Australian saltmarshes

  • Published source details Chapman M.G. & Roberts D.E. (2004) Use of seagrass wrack in restoring disturbed Australian saltmarshes. Ecological Management & Restoration, 5, 183-190.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add surface mulch: brackish/salt marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Add surface mulch: brackish/salt marshes

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1999–2001, aiming to create a saltmarsh on a lagoon sandflat in New South Wales, Australia (Chapman & Roberts 2004) found that mulched plots were more likely to contain glasswort Sarcocornia quinqueflora than unmulched plots, but that mulching typically had no significant effect on glasswort biomass, glasswort cover or plant species richness (because of high variability between plots). After 20 months, glasswort was present in a significantly greater proportion of mulched plots (89%) than unmulched plots (56%). However, above-ground glasswort biomass was statistically similar in mulched (9–19 g/units not clear) and unmulched plots (8–11 g/units not clear). Over the two years following intervention, glasswort cover was statistically similar under each treatment in 6 of 10 comparisons (for which mulched: 4–43%; unmulched: 4–19%). In the other comparisons, mulching either increased glasswort cover or had variable effects across the site (see original paper). Meanwhile, plant species richness was similar under each treatment in 11 of 11 comparisons (mulched: 1–4 species/4 m2; unmulched: 1–3 species/4 m2). Methods: In October 1999, forty 4-m2 plots were established (in two sets of 20) on almost-bare sediment next to a patchy salt marsh. Twenty plots (10 plots/set) were mulched with seagrass and seaweed (5–10 cm layer). Mulch was reapplied when it thinned or was blown away. Plant species and cover were surveyed 10–11 times over two years after mulching. In June 2001, glasswort shoots were cut from 12 plots, then air-dried and weighed. Roughly half way through the study, some plots were damaged by motorbike riders (further details not reported).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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