Mangroves as a protection from storm surges in a changing climate
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Adaptation to climate change includes addressing sea-level rise (SLR) and increased storm surges in many coastal areas. Mangroves can substantially reduce vulnerability of the adjacent coastal land from inundation but SLR poses a threat to the future of mangroves. This paper quantifies coastal protection services of mangroves for 42 developing countries in the current climate, and a future climate change scenario with a 1-m SLR and 10 % intensification of storms. Findings demonstrate that while SLR and increased storm intensity would increase storm surge areas, the greatest impact is from the expected loss of mangroves. Under current climate and mangrove coverage, 3.5 million people and GDP worth roughly US $400 million are at risk. In the future climate change scenario, vulnerable population and GDP at risk would increase by 103 and 233 %. The greatest risk is in East Asia, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines as well as Myanmar.
KeywordsClimate change Coastal protection Mangroves Storm surge
We would like to thank Chandra Giri (United States Geological Survey) for providing the mangrove presence data necessary to conduct the analysis. We extend a special thanks to Anna McIvor (University of Cambridge) for her insight on the analysis, particularly the formulation of the wave attenuation functions. We also thank Mark Spalding (University of Cambridge and The Nature Conservancy) for his guidance on the mangrove results, Ed Barbier (University of Wyoming) for his thoughtful review of this research, Peter Mumby (University of Queensland), and Mike Beck (The Nature Conservancy) for their insights on this analysis. We are thankful to Zahirul Huque Khan (Institute of Water Modeling, Bangladesh) for sharing the technical analysis of mangrove afforestation in Hatia island. We also thank the participants of the “State of the Knowledge of the Protective Services and Values of Mangrove and Coral Reef Ecosystems”, organized by The Nature Conservancy and the World Bank WAVES Partnership, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, United States, December 3–4, 2014. We also thank the participants of the presentation at the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, Chicago, US, April 25, 2015.
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