Neumeier U. (2005) Quantification of vertical density variations of salt-marsh vegetation. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 63/4, 489-496.


Density and structure of salt-marsh canopies control the reduction of water flow by the vegetation, which may cause inter alia increased accretion. This paper presents and evaluates two methods that quantify the vertical density variations of salt-marsh canopies: the vertical biomass distribution and the lateral obstruction ratio obtained from a binarised picture. The former provides accurate results and is well adapted to define canopy heights; the second reflects better the flow hindrance, but is unsuitable for dense canopies. Both methods are used to illustrate density variation over short distances in Spartina marshes and to monitor two English salt-marshes over one year. The results demonstrate the great seasonal variability in the vegetation, which must be taken into account when long-term predictions are extrapolated from short-term measurements.

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