Spreading samphire seedlings may help in the development of salt marshes. Researchers at Wageningen Marine Research expect that accretion will go faster, that drainage channels will arise more quickly and that more salt marsh specific plants will settle after planting samphire plants that already grow in the local environment.
In the Marconi Delfzijl scheme in the northeast of the Netherlands, EcoShape starts a large-scale trial to test this. Samphire is sown to investigate how the settlement of this pioneer species can be accelerated and how it affects the morphological development of a salt marsh.
The samphire is sown in three test sections of 9,000 m2 each, so the total area of the total researched area is 27,000 m2. In the spring of 2018, 13.500 samphire plants are cut into about 100 pieces. The researchers first let the 1.350.000 plant pieces germinate in fresh water. Then they will sow the plants in the three test sections with a density of 50 seedlings per square meter.
The researchers then monitor how quickly the pilot section develops compared to non-seeded sections, what this means for the accretion rate and the formation of drainage channels and whether this influences the settlement of other salt marsh plants