In addition to being used as a means of coastal defence, Managed Realignment has also been used in a number of cases to mitigate for loss of intertidal habitat.
Although land claim has been an important factor for salt marsh loss in the UK in the past (Allen 1992) the majority of current salt marsh loss in the UK is believed to be due to erosion (Morris et al. 2004). This erosion may involve coastal squeeze, where protective sea walls prevent the landward migration of salt marsh in response to sea level rise when sediment supply is limited (Hulme 2005; Morris et al. 2004). Salt marshes are protected under the EU Habitats Directive as well as providing habitat for a number of species protected by the Birds Directive (see Natura 2000). Following this guidance, the UK’s biodiversity action plan aims to prevent net losses to the area of salt marsh present in 1992. It is therefore a legal requirement that all losses in marsh area must be compensated by replacement habitat with equivalent biological characteristics (Crooks et al. 2001). This equates to the need to restore approximately 1.4 km² of salt marsh habitat per year in the UK.
Read more about this topic: Managed Retreat
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