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Keywords:

  • Canopy structure;
  • Grazing;
  • Mowing;
  • Sowing experiment;
  • Survival

Abstract. Lower salt-marsh species occur more in the grazed than in the mown sites of a salt marsh in Schiermonnikoog in the Netherlands. This was demonstrated by a sowing experiment which determined which characteristic of the stand structure, height of the canopy or percentage of bare soil, is responsible for this difference. The total number of seedlings which emerged was negatively related to the height of the canopy and positively to the percentage of bare soil. The survival of seedlings of Suaeda maritima and Plantago maritima could be explained by the height of the canopy and for the latter species also by the percentage of bare soil. The survival of Aster tripolium and Plantago maritima was higher in grazed than in mown sites. Since the amount of bare soil was higher than seemed necessary for germination and survival, it was concluded that the taller canopy was responsible for the absence of lower salt-marsh species in the mown sites.