Pacific Island Mangroves in a Changing Climate and Rising Sea

Accurate predictions of changes to coastal ecosystem position, area and health, including in response to climate change effects such as relative sea level rise, enables advanced planning appropriate for specific sections of coastline to minimize and offset anticipated losses, and reduce threats to coastal development and human safety (Titus, 1991; Mullane and Suzuki, 1997; Ramsar Bureau, 1998; Hansen and Biringer, 2003; Ellison, 2004; Gilman et al., 2005a). Relative sea level rise is a major factor contributing to recent losses and projected future reductions in the area of valued coastal habitats, including mangroves1 and other tidal wetlands, with concomitant increased threat to human safety and shoreline development from coastal hazards (Gilman et al., 2005a). Global sea level rise is one of the more certain outcomes of global warming, 10-20 cm occurred during the last century, and several climate models project an accelerated rate of sea level rise over coming decades (Church et al., 2001 and 2004a; Cazenave and Nerem, 2004; Holgate and Woodworth, 2004; Thomas et al., 2004).    

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