Biodiversity & Conservation

Pioneer saltmarsh.



Image Steve Morris - LMU.Sm e.g. Salicornia sp. pioneer saltmarsh Image width ca 5 m in foreground.
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Distribution map

LS.LMp.Sm recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Pioneer saltmarsh communities occur in sheltered and low energy estuaries and embayments around English and Welsh coasts.
National importance Not available

Text page icon Description of biotope

For a full description of this biotope including characterizing species, distribution, survey information and references visit JNCC

Angiosperm-dominated stands of vegetation, occurring on the extreme upper shore of sheltered coasts and periodically covered by high tides. The vegetation develops on a variety of sandy and muddy sediment types and may have admixtures of coarser material. The character of the saltmarsh communities is affected by height up the shore, resulting in a zonation pattern related to the degree or frequency of immersion in seawater. Saltmarsh vegetation is generally well studied; its classification is fully covered by the UK National Vegetation Classification, where 26 types are defined (Rodwell, 2000). Pioneer saltmarsh is represented by 8 of the 26 NVC communities recognised by Rodwell (2000) and are dominated by Spartina sp., Salicornia spp., Suaeda maritima, Aster spp. and Arthrocnemum perenne communities. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

The literature on saltmarsh habitats is extensive and it would be impossible to include all available information in this review. Therefore, the following review is based on more extensive reviews and texts to which the reader is directed for further information (Ranwell, 1972; Long & Mason, 1983; Adam, 1993; Packham & Willis; 1997; Rodwell, 2000).

This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2001. Pioneer saltmarsh.. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 29/11/2015]. Available from: <>