Wetlands: Tidal

Authored by: William H. Conner , Ken W. Krauss , Andrew H. Baldwin , Stephen Hutchinson

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-ENRL-120047505

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Abstract

Tidal wetlands are some of the most dynamic areas of the Earth and are found at the interface between the land and sea. Salinity, regular tidal flooding, and infrequent catastrophic flooding due to storm events result in complex interactions among biotic and abiotic factors. The complexity of these interactions, along with the uncertainty of where one draws the line between tidal and nontidal, makes characterizing tidal wetlands a difficult task. The three primary types of tidal wetlands are tidal marshes, mangroves, and freshwater forested wetlands. Tidal marshes are dominated by herbaceous plants and are generally found at middle to high latitudes of both hemispheres. Mangrove forests dominate tropical coastlines around the world while tidal freshwater forests are global in distribution. All three wetland types are highly productive ecosystems, supporting abundant and diverse faunal communities. Unfortunately, these wetlands are subject to alteration and loss from both natural and anthropogenic causes.

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