A salt meadow is a special habitat type found close to the coast. The area is characterised by low vegetation, which is affected by sea salt from flooding or from the air. The word ‘meadow’ is associated with human use of the area, and it is only a meadow as long as the vegetation is kept down by grazing animals or hay-making. If unexploited, the meadow will turn into a bog, swamp or scrub.
In the Wadden Sea, salt affects the meadows more than along the eastern coasts of Denmark. Also, the landscape is generally more dynamic. Tides and storms create new salt meadows, while other meadows erode faster than anywhere else in Denmark. The salt impact is greatest in the salt meadow zone closest to the coast, whereas the impact generally lessens higher up. However, it is not quite as simple as that. Depressions at the upper part of the salt meadow may turn out to be the most affected by salt. After flooding, small isolated pools, known as salt pannes, are formed. When the water evaporates from the pannes, it leaves a high concentration of salt.