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Coastal terrestial systems and sea-level rise: appendix 7

Gilman, E and Ellison, JC 2010 , 'Coastal terrestial systems and sea-level rise: appendix 7', in P Leadley and HM Pereira and R Alkemade and JF Fernandez-Manjarres and V Proenca and JPW Scharlemann and MJ Walpole (eds.), Biodiversity Scenarios: Projections of 21st century change in biodiversity and associated ecosystem services : A Technical Report for the , CBD Technical series no. 50 , Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, pp. 100-110.

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Based on limited monitoring, experiments and modelling of climate change outcomes, relative sealevel
rise may be the greatest future threat to tidal wetlands and beaches. Reduced coastal ecosystem
area and condition will increase coastal hazards to human settlements, reduce coastal water quality,
release large quantities of stored carbon, and eliminate nesting, nursery and forage habitat for numerous
species groups, including fish, shellfish, seabirds, waterbirds, sea turtles, crocodiles, manatees and
n Rising seas will likely have the greatest impact on coastal wetlands experiencing net relative lowering
in sediment elevation, and where there is limited area for landward migration due to the physiographic
setting or obstacles from development. The majority of mangrove sites studied have not been keeping
pace with current rates of relative sea-level rise, this exceeding the observed mean change in mangrove
sediment surface elevation of +1 mm a–1. As a result, 0.2% annual reductions in Pacific Islands region
mangroves are predicted over this century, contributing about 10 to 20% of total estimated losses.
n Longer-term monitoring of coastal ecosystem changes from a larger number of regions is needed for
evaluation of ecosystem resistance. There is a need for reliable predictive sediment elevation models and
models of coastal ecosystem erosion. There is also a need for improved understanding of the synergistic
effects of multiple climate change and other anthropogenic and natural stressors on coastal ecosystems.
n Adaptation options, to offset anticipated coastal ecosystem losses and improve resistance and resilience
to rising seas, include: coastal planning to facilitate landward migration; ‘no regrets’ reduction of
stressors, including catchment management to minimize disturbance to sedimentation processes; rehabilitation
of degraded areas; and increases in protected areas that include functionally linked coastal
ecosystems. Establishing coastal ecosystem monitoring through regional networks using standardized
techniques enables the separation of site-based influences from global changes, improving the understanding
of coastal ecosystem responses to sea level and global climate change, and alternatives to
mitigate adverse effects.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Gilman, E and Ellison, JC
Publisher: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Additional Information:

Copyright © 2010, Secretariat of the
Convention on Biological Diversity

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