Coastal Habitats, Shallow Seas and Inland Saline Steppes: Ecology, Distribution, Threats and Challenges

Hobohm, Carsten; Schaminee, J.H.J.; Rooijen, N.M. van


Coastal and inland saline habitats are distributed worldwide. The coastal habitats occur at the border between land and sea in various landscape formations, such as rocky shores, shallow coasts and protected bays, as far as to offshore areas. The inland saline habitats are predominantly part of inland steppe ecosystems. The complex underlying geomorphology, ecology, specialized flora and fauna, temporal and spatial dynamic, diverse ecosystem services and the general importance for human populations, settlements, fisheries, trades, and tourism make coastal habitats a unique part of the world’s landscape.

In this chapter, we briefly outline the historic significance of coastal habitats and their ecosystem functions and services. We describe recent threats affecting coastal habitats and their flora and fauna. Owing to their spatially close relation or similarities in vegetation composition to saltmarshes, we additionally describe the characteristics of shallow sea communities and inland saline steppe vegetation.