Climate change adaptation in the Schleswig-Holstein sector of the Wadden Sea: an integrated state governmental strategy

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change constitutes a main challenge for the Wadden Sea. Accelerated sea level rise, increasing temperatures and changing wind climate may strongly alter present structures and functions of the ecosystem with negative consequences both for nature conservation and for coastal risk management. Being aware of these challenges, Schleswig-Holstein State Government decided to establish an integrated climate change adaptation strategy for the Schleswig-Holstein sector of the Wadden Sea. The strategy was adopted in June 2015. It aims at the long-term maintenance of present functions and structures as well as the integrity of the Wadden Sea ecosystem in a changing climate. The strategy was prepared by a project group consisting of representatives from State authorities as well as from nature conservation organisations and local institutions. First outcome of the strategy is that extra adaptation measures will not be necessary in the coming decades. However, pending on the future rate of sea level rise, shoreline erosion and sediment deficits in the Wadden Sea will increase and sooner or later drowning of tidal flats and terrestrial habitats like beaches, primary dunes and salt marshes will start. At the time when management measures to counteract the negative developments become expedient from a nature conservation viewpoint as well as for coastal risk management, adequate actions with minimized ecological interferences are possible. It is assumed that balancing the sediment deficits as the main adaptation measure may be implemented most efficiently by concentrating sediment suppletion at locations where natural forces organize redistribution in the Wadden Sea. Local technical coastal risk management measures like the strengthening of sea defences will, nevertheless, remain necessary as well.

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Abbreviations

SLR:

Sea level rise

SW2100:

Strategy for the Schleswig-Holstein sector of the Wadden Sea 2100

CRM:

Coastal risk management

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Correspondence to Jacobus L. A. Hofstede.

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Hofstede, J.L.A., Stock, M. Climate change adaptation in the Schleswig-Holstein sector of the Wadden Sea: an integrated state governmental strategy. J Coast Conserv 22, 199–207 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11852-016-0433-0

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Keywords

  • Wadden Sea
  • Sea level rise
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Integrated coastal management
  • National Park
  • Nature conservation