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The response of mangrove soil surface elevation to sea level rise

Coastal ecosystems such as mangroves can reduce risk to people and infrastructure from wave damage and flooding. The continued provision of these coastal defence services by mangroves is dependent on their capacity to adapt to projected rates of sea level rise. This report explores the capacity of mangrove soil surfaces to increase in elevation in response to local rises in sea level.


Recent evidence based on measurements using the Surface-Elevation Table – Marker Horizon methodology (from studies published between 2006 and 2011) suggest that mangrove surfaces are rising at similar rates to sea level in a number of locations.

Monitoring and management of mangrove areas is recommended to ensure continued provision of coastal defence services into the future. In particular, sediment inputs need to be maintained, mangroves should be protected from degradation, and space should be allowed for mangroves to colonise landward areas. In many areas, short term anthropogenic losses of mangroves represent a greater threat to the provision of coastal defence services by mangroves than the longer term effects of sea level rise.

Related Project(s):
Mangrove restoration, Building with Nature

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