Evaluating the Response of Mediterranean-Atlantic Saltmarshes to Sea-Level Rise

Miriam Fernandez-Nunez, Helene Burningham, Pilar Díaz-Cuevas, José Ojeda-Zújar
2019 Resources  
Saltmarshes provide high-value ecological services and play an important role in coastal ecosystems and populations. As the rate of sea level rise accelerates in response to climate change, saltmarshes and tidal environments and the ecosystem services that they provide could be lost in those areas that lack sediment supply for vertical accretion or space for landward migration. Predictive models could play an important role in foreseeing those impacts, and to guide the implementation of
more » ... entation of suitable management plans that increase the adaptive capacity of these valuable ecosystems. The SLAMM (sea-level affecting marshes model) has been extensively used to evaluate coastal wetland habitat response to sea-level rise. However, uncertainties in predicted response will also reflect the accuracy and quality of primary inputs such as elevation and habitat coverage. Here, we assessed the potential of SLAMM for investigating the response of Atlantic-Mediterranean saltmarshes to future sea-level rise and its application in managerial schemes. Our findings show that SLAMM is sensitive to elevation and habitat maps resolution and that historical sea-level trend and saltmarsh accretion rates are the predominant input parameters that influence uncertainty in predictions of change in saltmarsh habitats. The understanding of the past evolution of the system, as well as the contemporary situation, is crucial to providing accurate uncertainty distributions and thus to set a robust baseline for future predictions.
doi:10.3390/resources8010050 fatcat:ubamddyph5el5ggqzovixfamfe