Coastal dunes and tidal wetlands are found at the interface between land and sea. They are dynamic ecosystems and serve as the first line of defense against the sea, buffering wind, waves, storm tides, and rising sea level. The physical environment of dunes and tidal wetlands is harsh. Both are exposed to wind and wave action and salt though they differ in availability of water. Dunes are water-limited as the unsaturated sandy soils have low water holding capacity that favors establishment of drought-tolerant vegetation. In tidal wetlands, the soils are saturated during tidal inundation, creating anaerobic soil conditions that favor colonization by hydrophytic (flood-tolerant) vegetation.

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