Integrated coastal zone management proposes nature-based mitigation strategies based on the replacement of artificial coastal stabilization and protection structures with dunes stabilized with plant species. These psammophytes stabilize sands and act as supporters, increasing dunes’ ability to reduce storm damages and effectively minimize erosion with minimal negative impacts to natural ecosystems. That is why searching for native salt-tolerant plants with extensive root systems and studying their capacity for erosion and flooding control is fundamental to the practice of ecologically-sound ecosystem services. The aim of the present study is to define the effects of flooding stress on a number of wheatgrass (Thinopyrum ponticum
) plant life aspects (survival ability, viability, and growth response) in order to determine wheatgrass’s capacity as dune stabilizer. Conducted experiments established that T. ponticum
was very tolerant to immersion impact and salt and oxygen deficiency stress, and its rhizomes were able to regenerate after 30 days in seawater. The temporal expression of its survival is presented as critical decomposition time (CDT) by linking the maximum duration of floods along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the resilience of tall wheatgrass in flooding simulations. A statistical analysis of the experimental data demonstrated that immersion in sea water increases rhizome viability, biomass, and allocation to root biomass, whereas other factors, such as the duration of immersion, salinity, and temperatures of sea water have no significant effect. According to flood resilience and growth response to sea water submergence, T. ponticum
demonstrated high potential to be a dune stabilizer.
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