Sea level rise is a threat to mangroves and their ecosystem services

Dan Friess
Mangrove forests are highly valuable and provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, or benefits to local coastal communities. These include fisheries, coastal protection, carbon storage and cultural and spiritual values. But these ecosystem services are currently threatened by deforestation, and in the future will be threatened further by sea level rise. Luckily, mangroves have the potential to \'keep pace\' with sea level rise by modifying their surface elevation. A continued supply of mud from river catchments is key for Indo-Pacific mangroves to keep pace with sea level rise, though river damming is reducing this crucial method of adaptation. As a result, we project that a large proportion of mangroves in our region will be at risk of submergence by the end of this century. However, sea level rise may benefit mangroves in some areas by increasing the potential landward area they can occupy. It is important for us to measure surface dynamics to understand the future vulnerability of mangroves. A monitoring network has recently been established to provide this crucial information for mangroves in our region. 
Photo by
Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR
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