Vegetation and ecological gradients in abandoned salt pans in western France
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
2001 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 269–278, April 2001
How to Cite
Bouzillé, J.-B., Kernéis, E., Bonis, A. and Touzard, B. (2001), Vegetation and ecological gradients in abandoned salt pans in western France. Journal of Vegetation Science, 12: 269–278. doi: 10.2307/3236611
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 20 March 2000; Revision received 20 October 2000; Accepted 15 December 2000.
- Dynamic patterns;
- Flooding regime;
- Soil salinity
- Tutin et al. (1964–1980)
Abstract. Salt marshes along the Atlantic coast of France have been converted into solar salt pans since the 7th century. Salt production declined strongly from the 18th century onward, leading to the abandonment of many of these salt pans. High soil salinity is a residue from the original salt production and varies among salt pans according to time since abandonment, the current flooding regime and the effect of drainage measures. The relationships between the plant communities and seven environmental variables were investigated by Detrended Correspondence Analyses (DCA). Duration of flooding, electric conductivity and sodium saturation were most strongly related to variation in vegetation. The Heleo-chareto-Hippuridetum vulgaris and the Caricetum ripariae occur in lagoons with slightly saline soil that are flooded for the longest time period; the Scirpetum maritimi compacti occurs in salt pans with saline soil flooded for a long period; the Alopecuro-Juncetum gerardii occurs on saline soil where flooding is of short duration whereas the Carici-Lolietum perennis is never flooded and occurs on only slightly saline soil.
Soil salinity and duration of flooding provide a satisfactory explanation of the variation in species composition in abandoned salt pans but land-use practices, especially grazing, have to be taken into account to fully understand their floristic composition.