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Loss of Salt Marsh Bodies due to Constant Enrichment of Nutrients (Eutrophication)

Loss of Salt Marsh Bodies due to Constant Enrichment of Nutrients (Eutrophication)

In an article entitled, “Coastal Eutrophication   as a Driver of Salt Marsh Loss” published in the 17th October issue of Nature,  Linda A. Deegan and six coworkers  each from a USA-based university have come to the conclusion  from a nine-year whole-ecosystem  study that nutrient enrichment (particularly of phosphates  and nitrates through fertilizers and sewage) gradually leads to loss of  salt marsh. Their results which cannot be demonstrated on a small scale study of a shorter duration show  that  coastal eutrophication have reduced over the years biomass of bank-stabilizing roots below the ground with consequential  microbial decomposition of organic matter.  Earlier studies have shown that changes in these key ecosystem properties reduce  geomorphic stability bringing about consequential  creek-bank collapse leading to conversion of creek-bank marsh to  extensive areas of mud denuded of any vegetation. This has been shown to be the cause of marsh loss all over the globe creating  extensive mudflats and wider creeks. Furthermore, their investigation suggests  that current nutrient loading rates to many coastal ecosystems have overwhelmed the capacity of marshes to remove nitrogen without deleterious effects.

Increased eutrophication in metropolitan cities such as Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna should be a great concern to Bangladesh as it means gradual loss of coastal mangrove vegetation causing ecological imbalance  and  a health hazard  to the population concomitant with its adverse effect on  the economy of the country.

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