Salt marsh

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Definition of Salt marsh:
A densely vegetated coastal ecosystem situated in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and intertidal mudflats, or bordering directly open saltwater or brackish water if mudflats are absent.
This is the common definition for Salt marsh, other definitions can be discussed in the article

Example of a salt-marsh: Land of Saeftinghe in the Western Scheldt estuary.


  • Salt marshes are a key habitat of transitional waters lying at the interface between the land and the sea, depending on, and periodically covered by tidal sea water.
  • Salt marsh vegetation is usually composed of grasses and other low plants, but not trees.
  • Water saturation is the dominant factor controlling plant and animal communities and soils.
  • The soil may be composed of deep mud and peat.
  • Salt marshes are drained by tidal creeks that form spontaneously depending on local soil characteristics and gradients in the hydraulic head of infiltrated water.
  • Salt marshes usually form in sheltered coastal systems, such as lagoons and estuaries where fine sediments can be deposited. Salt marshes can also form behind spits and artificial sea defences where tidal waters can flow gently and deposit fine sediments.
  • Salt marshes are sometimes referred to as schorre or kwelder.

Chapman (1960[1], 1977 a[2], b [3]) describes nine different geographical salt marsh regions throughout the world.

Related articles

See also


  1. Chapman, V.J., 1960. Salt Marshes and Salt Deserts of the World. London: Leonard Hill Limited, 392p.
  2. Chapman, V.J., 1977. Wet Coastal Ecosystems. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 440p.
  3. Chapman, V.J., 1997. Coastal Vegetation. New York: Pergamon Press, 292p.