Substantial improvements have been made in the restoration of coastal salt marshes over the last decade; however, many challenges remain. Some opportunities for improving restoration efforts include: I. Increasing our understanding of the development of restored salt marsh ecosystems over time, especially in comparison to natural marsh development; and identifying the limiting factors that restrict the development of restored salt marshes. II Considering the role of plant species diversity in restored salt marshes. Recent research at Tijuana Estuary has demonstrated that there is a significant effect of plant species diversity on the development of ecosystem functions in a restored salt marsh; further study of these effects is warranted in other salt marsh ecosystems. III. Evaluating the link between physical heterogeneity and ecosystem function. Smelt-scale changes in physical factors, such as elevation or hydrology, are likely to have substantial effects on the development of ecosystem function in restored salt marshes, and these factors should be considered in restoration design. IV. Addressing the potential impacts of exotic plants within restored marshes. Exotic species remain a substantial problem in many restored ecosystems; better efforts are needed to identify appropriate methods to control exotic plants. V. Incorporating scientific approaches into restoration efforts. Rigorously designed scientific experiments that identify cause-effect relationships for the development of restored salt marshes could substantially improve the design, implementation, and monitoring of restoration projects.
John C. Callaway. The Challenge of Restoring Functioning Salt Marsh Ecosystem. Journal of Coastal Research SPECIAL ISSUE NO. 40. Coastal Restoration: Where Have We Been, Where Are We Now, and Where Should We Be Going? (WINTER 2005), pp. 24-36.