Scientific name Festuca rubra – Agrostis stolonifera saltmarsh
Common name Red Fescue – Creeping Bent saltmarsh
Community code SM4A

 

SM4A: Festuca rubra – Agrostis stolonifera saltmarsh  SM4A: Festuca rubra – Agrostis stolonifera saltmarsh  SM4A map: Festuca rubra – Agrostis stolonifera saltmarsh

Download full pdf synopsis: SM4A

 

Vegetation

This vegetation usually comprises a rank sward dominated by Festuca rubra and Agrostis stolonifera, which are the only constants. Glaux maritima, Plantago maritima and Triglochin maritimum are each frequent and there are a number of occasional associates including Leontodon autumnalis, Juncus gerardii, Trifolium repens, Atriplex prostrata, Cochlearia officinalis, Armeria maritima, Plantago coronopus and Aster tripolium.

 

Ecology

This is an upper marsh community that is infrequently inundated. Conditions are base-rich.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities have been described for this community.

 

Similar communities

In the other Festuca rubra-rich swards of group SM4, Agrostis stolonifera is usually not as abundant as it tends to be in this community. Agrostis can be plentiful in SM4B but in that community Juncus gerardii is much more frequent than it is here. Both Agrostis and Festuca occur together in swards of SM6D, but Festuca is not so frequent there and again Juncus gerardii will be encountered.

 

Conservation value

Almost all examples of this vegetation qualify as EU HD Annex I habitat 1330 Atlantic salt meadows. It is typically a species-poor community, but does contain some specialist species.

 

Management

The main threat to this saltmarsh community is probably grazing by livestock. Sea-level rises as a result of climate change could potentially have an impact, particularly in areas susceptible to coastal squeeze.