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Indiana University Research: ‘Just Right’ Plant Growth May Make River Deltas Resilient
Research by Indiana University geologists suggests that an intermediate amount of vegetation — not too little and not too much — is most effective at stabilizing freshwater river deltas.

The study, “Optimum vegetation height and density for inorganic sedimentation in deltaic marshes,” was published online Aug. 24 by Nature Geoscience. The findings may help guide restoration of river deltas, such as those near the mouth of the Mississippi River, which are under threat as sea levels rise.

75 simulations where conducted involving varying scenarios of vegetation height and density and rates of water flow. Researchers found that vegetation of intermediate height and density results in the greatest deposition of sand and mud. However, if the plants are too tall or densely packed, sediment tends to remain in the river channel, bypassing marshes and being carried directly to the sea. aquatic


 
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