This volume presents new and additional information about the physiology and ecology of halophytic plant species and saline ecosystems.
The halophytes are highly specialized plants, which have greater tolerance to salt. They can germinate, grow and reproduce successfully in saline areas which would cause the death of regular plants. Most halophytic species are found in salt marsh systems along seashores or around landlocked inland lakes and flat plains with high evaporation. The halophytes play very significant role in the saline areas specially in the coast by overcoming the salinity in different ways, viz. with regulating mechanisms in which excess salts are excreted and with out regulating mechanism, which may include succulents or cumulative types. Besides that they protect coast from erosion and cyclones, provide feeding ground and nursery for fish, shrimps and birds. Halophytes get increasing attention today because of the steady increase of the salinity in irrigation systems in the arid and semi-arid regions where the increasing population reaches the limits of freshwater availability. In many countries, halophytes have been successfully grown on saline wasteland to provide animal fodder and have the potential for rehabilitation and even reclamation of these sites. The value of certain salt-tolerant grass species has been recognized by their incorporation in pasture improvement programs in many salt affected regions throughout the world. There have been recent advances in selecting species with high biomass and protein levels in combination with their ability to survive a wide range of environmental conditions, including salinity.
Our limited understanding of how halophytes work, as this may well be our future as our limit of fresh water is reached. It is important that we preserve these unusual plants and their habitats, not just for their aesthetic beauty, but also as a resource for the development of new salt tolerant and halophyte crop of economic importance. Over the last ten years much new information has become available, which is important for agriculture, forestry and floriculture.