Trade-offs between biodiversity and flood protection services of coastal salt marshes

Loon-Steensma, J.M. van; Vellinga, P.


Coastal salt marshes provide a range of ecosystem services. However, their area is steadily diminishing as a result of human-made modifications to the coastal zone. The accelerated rise of sea level is another challenge to the self-generating capacity of coastal salt marshes. This is a subject of extensive research, leading to conservation and restoration strategies. The value of salt marshes as a natural sea defense is an area of growing interest as well. This article reviews salt-marsh restoration options described in the literature, including the idea of sediment nourishment on the scale of the estuary or lagoon as a whole. It then considers trade-offs between enhancement of salt marshes’ flood protection service and the ecological quality of the ecosystem