The UK saltmarsh elevations and Ecosystem Services

Alotaibi, Gallab (2024) The UK saltmarsh elevations and Ecosystem Services. Masters thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Saltmarshes are ecologically important and provide diverse ecosystem services, including protection of shorelines, carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat provision. Assessments of saltmarsh ecosystem services often consider them homogeneous, ignoring differences within and between marshes. This research examined the extent to which saltmarsh elevations and local tidal levels altered estimates of ecosystem service provision for 35 UK saltmarshes. LiDAR derived Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) gave reliable estimates of sediment surface elevation with an accuracy of better than 20cm. Most of the area of marshes in the South of the UK, from the Tees Estuary on the East Coast moving clockwise to the Dovey Estuary on the West coast lies at or below the level of MHWS, often with a sub-horizontal platform lying just below MHWS. These marshes make a substantial contribution to coastal protection during normal conditions by dissipating wave energy, but their contribution in reducing flooding risks is less important during storm surge events when they may be submerged to a depth of more than 2m. In the northern UK, substantial areas of marsh occur above the level of MHWS, potentially playing a bigger role in dissipating wave energy during storm surges, but the areas of land vulnerable to coastal flooding are much smaller here. The proportion of low marsh is small at most sites in the UK. The majority of saltmarsh area is predicted to have relatively high redox values and emissions of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide will therefore be low. Rapid sedimentation occurs mainly on low marshes, and rates of carbon burial will be overestimated if this is not taken into account. Mechanisms of sedimentation and vegetation succession appear to be variable and unstable, whether across the whole saltmarsh or in different parts in an individual marsh.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2024 07:55
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 07:55


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