Saltmarshes are both highly dynamic and hugely diverse. In Britain, wetlands with salt-tolerant plants occur not only along the coast, but also surprisingly further inland, along tidal rivers and even roads, as a result of the spread of de-icing salt.
In this welcome addition to the current literature on the subject, Clive Chatters celebrates some of our most exciting and exceptional saltmarshes. Providing nursery sites for fish, feeding grounds for wintering birds and breeding grounds for waders, as well as supporting a huge variety of invertebrates, they are excellent spots for wildlife. Distinct zones of salt-tolerant vegetation communities and the great diversity of interfaces between saltmarshes and other habitats add to their appeal as a habitat that is worth exploring.
In addition to the floral and faunal highlights of these sites, Clive also outlines their history, international significance, and use by people as a source of food, recreation, and even for generating power. The consequences of this complicated relationship are a running theme, and impacts of factors such as grazing, industrialisation and coastal squeeze – where sea defences prevent saltmarsh from moving inland and escaping sea-level rise – among others are discussed. Saltmarsh concludes with an overview of the major trends in conservation management, including the artificial creation of new areas of saltmarsh, and a look towards what the future may hold for this important and often overlooked habitat.
"I expected this book to be an ecological account of the habitats of ‘tide and time’. And so it is, but it is much more than that. After outlining a much broader concept of saltmarsh, and covering plenty of its ecology, the bulk of the book is concerned predominantly with history – but a unique history from the perspective of the saltmarsh. [...] A substantial chunk of the book is devoted to detailing the initiation and evolution of the conservation movement, in which saltmarshes, mainly because of the important bird communities which they support, played, and continue to play, a pivotal role. [...] Each of the 21 chapters presents a different story for which Chatters selects a different saltmarsh system from around Britain to demonstrate his point. [...] Chatters writes with authority and eloquence on an enormous range of topics and draws from an impressive range of sources [...]. All are meticulously yet unobtrusively cited in the text such that the story is not disrupted. He discusses contentious issues non-judgementally"
– Ros Bennett, British Wildlife 29(1), October 2017
"Saltmarshes are often remote, inhospitable places, neither land nor sea, as hard to pin down as they are to navigate. In this saline odyssey, Clive Chatters has explored his favourite creeks, pools and mudflats to bring us an absorbing celebration of the ecology, biology, geology and history of this scarce and mysterious habitat. There are Tadpole Shrimps, and rare sedges, waders and Wild Celery – even inland saltmarshes – in this tour de force by a superb naturalist and writer."
– Brett Westwood
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Clive Chatters is a naturalist who has worked for over 35 years as a nature conservationist in the counties adjoining the Solent. He has held positions in both the statutory and voluntary conservation sectors, taking time off to assist in establishing the New Forest National Park. Author of a variety of publications from scientific reports to magazine articles, he has also written several books including Flowers of the Forest, an exploration of the botany of the New Forest through its history and rural economy, and Wild Hampshire and Isle of Wight, to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.