Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 124, Issue 1–3, pp 105–130 | Cite as

Assessment of Mangrove Response to Projected Relative Sea-Level Rise And Recent Historical Reconstruction of Shoreline Position

  • Eric GilmanEmail author
  • Joanna Ellison
  • Richard Coleman
Original Article


We predict the decadal change in position of three American Samoa mangroves from analysis of a time series of remotely sensed imagery, a geographic information system, tide gauge data, and projections for change in sea-level relative to the mangrove surface. Accurate predictions of changes to coastal ecosystem boundaries, including in response to projected relative sea-level rise, enable advanced planning to minimize and offset anticipated losses and minimize social disruption and cost of reducing threats to coastal development and human safety. The observed mean landward migration of three mangroves' seaward margins over four decades was 25, 64, and 72mma−1, 12 to 37 times the observed relative sea-level rise rate. Two of the sites had clear trends in reductions in mangrove area, where there was a highly significant correlation between the change in position of the seaward mangrove margin and change in relative sea-level. Here it can be inferred that the force of sea-level rise relative to the mangrove surface is causing landward migration. Shoreline movement was variable at a third site and not significantly correlated with changing sea-level, where it is likely that forces other than change in relative sea-level are predominant. Currently, 16.5%, 23.4%, and 68.0% of the three mangroves' landward margins are obstructed by coastal development from natural landward migration. The three mangroves could experience as high as a 50.0% reduction in area by the year 2100. A 12% reduction in mangrove area by the year 2100 is possible in the Pacific islands region.


American Samoa Coastal Erosion Mangrove Sea-level rise Wetland 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and Environmental StudiesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.HonoluluUSA

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