Environmental Management

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 373–385

Sea-level rise: Destruction of threatened and endangered species habitat in South Carolina

  • Richard C. Daniels
  • Tammy W. White
  • Kimberly K. Chapman
Research

DOI: 10.1007/BF02394680

Cite this article as:
Daniels, R.C., White, T.W. & Chapman, K.K. Environmental Management (1993) 17: 373. doi:10.1007/BF02394680

Abstract

Concern for the environment has increased over the past century, and the US Congress has responded to this concern by passing legislation designed to protect the nation’s ecological biodiversity. This legislation, culminating with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, has been instrumental in defining methods for identifying and protecting endangered or threatened species and their habitats. Current legislation, however, assumes that the range of a protected species will stay constant over time. This assumption may no longer be valid, as the unprecedented increase in the number and concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has the potential to cause a global warming of 1.0–4.5°C and a sea-level rise (SLR) of 31–150 cm by the year 2100. Changes in climate of this magnitude are capable of causing shifts in the population structure and range of most animal species.

This article examines the effects that SLR may have on the habitats of endangered and threatened species at three scales. At the regional scale 52 endangered or threatened plant and animal species were found to reside within 3 m of mean sea level in the coastal stages of the US Southeast. At the state level, the habitats of nine endangered or threatened animals that may be at risk from future SLR were identified. At the local level, a microscale analysis was conducted in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, USA, on the adverse effects that SLR may have on the habitats of the American alligator, brown pelican, loggerhead sea turtle, and wood stork.

Key Words

South CarolinaSea-level riseGreenhouse effectEndangered speciesThreatened speciesHabitat loss

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard C. Daniels
    • 1
  • Tammy W. White
    • 1
  • Kimberly K. Chapman
    • 2
  1. 1. Environmental Sciences Division Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.KnoxvilleUSA