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Article

Identifying Hydro-Geomorphological Conditions for State Shifts from Bare Tidal Flats to Vegetated Tidal Marshes

1
Satellite Application Center for Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Ecology and Environment/State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Satellite Remote Sensing, Fengde East Road 4, Beijing 100094, China
2
Ecosystem Management Research Group, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
3
Flanders Hydraulics Research, Department of Mobility and Public Works, Flemish Government, Berchemlei 115, 2140 Antwerp, Belgium
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School of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
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Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht University, 4400AC Yerseke, The Netherlands
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Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, and School of Marine Science, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
7
Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai 519000, China
8
Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jia 20 DaTun Road, Beijing 100101, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(14), 2316; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12142316
Received: 25 March 2020 / Revised: 12 July 2020 / Accepted: 14 July 2020 / Published: 18 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Wetlands)
High-lying vegetated marshes and low-lying bare mudflats have been suggested to be two stable states in intertidal ecosystems. Being able to identify the conditions enabling the shifts between these two stable states is of great importance for ecosystem management in general and the restoration of tidal marsh ecosystems in particular. However, the number of studies investigating the conditions for state shifts from bare mudflats to vegetated marshes remains relatively low. We developed a GIS approach to identify the locations of expected shifts from bare intertidal flats to vegetated marshes along a large estuary (Western Scheldt estuary, SW Netherlands), by analyzing the interactions between spatial patterns of vegetation biomass, elevation, tidal currents, and wind waves. We analyzed false-color aerial images for locating marshes, LIDAR-based digital elevation models, and spatial model simulations of tidal currents and wind waves at the whole estuary scale (~326 km²). Our results demonstrate that: (1) Bimodality in vegetation biomass and intertidal elevation co-occur; (2) the tidal currents and wind waves change abruptly at the transitions between the low-elevation bare state and high-elevation vegetated state. These findings suggest that biogeomorphic feedback between vegetation growth, currents, waves, and sediment dynamics causes the state shifts from bare mudflats to vegetated marshes. Our findings are translated into a GIS approach (logistic regression) to identify the locations of shifts from bare to vegetated states during the studied period based on spatial patterns of elevation, current, and wave orbital velocities. This GIS approach can provide a scientific basis for the management and restoration of tidal marshes. View Full-Text
Keywords: pending shift; stable ecosystem states; marsh formation; intertidal flats; LIDAR pending shift; stable ecosystem states; marsh formation; intertidal flats; LIDAR
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, C.; Smolders, S.; Callaghan, D.P.; van Belzen, J.; Bouma, T.J.; Hu, Z.; Wen, Q.; Temmerman, S. Identifying Hydro-Geomorphological Conditions for State Shifts from Bare Tidal Flats to Vegetated Tidal Marshes. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 2316. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12142316

AMA Style

Wang C, Smolders S, Callaghan DP, van Belzen J, Bouma TJ, Hu Z, Wen Q, Temmerman S. Identifying Hydro-Geomorphological Conditions for State Shifts from Bare Tidal Flats to Vegetated Tidal Marshes. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(14):2316. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12142316

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wang, Chen, Sven Smolders, David P. Callaghan, Jim van Belzen, Tjeerd J. Bouma, Zhan Hu, Qingke Wen, and Stijn Temmerman. 2020. "Identifying Hydro-Geomorphological Conditions for State Shifts from Bare Tidal Flats to Vegetated Tidal Marshes" Remote Sensing 12, no. 14: 2316. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12142316

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