作者：Zhengming Ge*, Shihua Li, Lishan Tan, Yalei Li, Zhongjian Hu
Abstract Revegetation of pioneer plants is a critical phase in community establishment for mudflats in seriously degraded coastal wetlands. We tested a hypothesis of the importance of a “power balance” among propagule resilience and sedimentary and tidal disturbances for vegetation reestablishment. Our experiment used three types of propagules (seeds, seedlings, and corms) of native Scirpus species in the fringing flats with similar tidal flows and varying sedimentary intensities in the Yangtze Estuary. Regardless of the initial planting densities, the seed germination rate was extremely low in the field situation. Although the incubated seedlings were planted directly on the bare flat, the wave movement easily flushed the seedlings, even at the site with moderate sedimentary accretion. Failure of the revegetation practice using the seed and seedling materials indicated that the combined “growing and anchoring power” of young seedlings and “stabilizing power” of the sediment were insufficient to withstand the “dislodging power” of the tidal energy. In contrast, the planting approach with underground propagules (corms) proved to be feasible for vegetation establishment at the sites with moderate and low-level sedimentary intensities. The successful practice improved the tipping point of plant survival and tussock formation could be surpassed when the combined growing and anchoring power of seedlings that developed from corms with the stabilizing power of the sediment was greater than the dislodging power of the wave energy. However, at the site with highlevel sedimentary intensity, the excessive sediment converted to the burying stress power as seedlings developed from the corms, revealing a burial threshold for seedling survival. The risk of seedling establishment was high when the burying stress power of the sediment far outweighed the combination of the growing power of the seedlings and the sediment removal power of the tidal current and surpassed the tipping point of vegetation die-off. Additionally, we checked the practice cost of the different approaches to ensure a highly cost-effective revegetation planning based on site suitability. This study highlights that understanding of the propagule–sediment–tide power balance offers a tool for improvement of the revegetation and management of site-specific sedimentary and hydrological environments for many degraded coastal ecosystems.