• Restoration;
  • Seed dispersal;
  • Seed longevity

Abstract. This study focuses on the relationship between vegetation succession and soil seed bank composition on the Schiermonnikoog (The Netherlands) salt marsh over 100 yr. The importance of driftline material in seed dispersal and the relationship with succession is also investigated. The results indicate that the majority of species have a transient or short-term seed persistent bank. Seeds of most species are able to float over the salt marsh and become concentrated in the driftline higher up the marsh. After plants have established a seed bank forms, which disappears when vegetation is replaced by later-successional species. Exceptions are Spergularia mar-itima, which is still present in the seed bank of late successional stages, and Juncus gerardi and Glaux maritima, which appear in the seed bank of early successional stages, but are absent in the vegetation. Based on the results of this study constraints and possibilities for salt-marsh restoration by de-embankment are discussed.