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Landscape-Level Consequences of Rising Sea-Level on Coastal Wetlands: Saltwater Intrusion Drives Displacement and Mortality in the Twenty-First CenturyAuthor(s): Mei Yu; Elsie Rivera-Ocasio; Tamara Heartsill-Scalley; Daniel Davila-Casanova; Neftalí Rios-López; Qiong Gao
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
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Forested Coastal Wetland Displacement in the 21st Century Driven by Saltwater Intrusion as Consequence of Rising Sea-level
DescriptionCoastal wetlands are shrinking rapidly due to land-use activities. Accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) associated to the warming climate is also affecting coastal wetlands, particularly in islands with limited coastal plains.We analyzed coastal wetland changes in Puerto Rico by applying the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model under two scenarios by 2100.We also analyzed mortality and recruitment in a freshwater swamp dominated by the tree Pterocarpus officinalis Jacq. in the context of landscape saltwaterintrusion and drought. Our results indicate mangroves and estuarine water would replace the areas currently covered by other saltwater and freshwater wetlands, and saltmarsh would encounter the most relative loss among wetland types. A moderate SLR of 1 m by 2100 allows expansion of mangroves but would decrease saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands. A 2-m SLR would decrease the distributions of all vegetated wetlands, mostly replaced by estuarine water. In the P. officinalis forest, saltwaterintrusion and drought increased tree mortality during 2003–2015 compared to 1994–2003. Saltwater intrusion had a more significant negative effect on tree recruitment than on mortality in this Pterocarpus forest. Coastal wetlands are facing challenges to their persistence at current locations due to accelerated SLR, limited coastal lands, and a modified hydrological regime.
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CitationYu, Mei; Rivera-Ocasio, Elsie; Heartsill-Scalley, Tamara; Davila-Casanova, Daniel; Rios-López, Neftalí; Gao, Qiong. 2019. Landscape-Level Consequences of Rising Sea-Level on Coastal Wetlands: Saltwater Intrusion Drives Displacement and Mortality in the Twenty-First Century. Wetlands. 44(10): 402-. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-019-01138-x.
KeywordsCaribbean, Climate change, Coastal, Sea-level rise, Tropical wetlands, Wetland migration
- Nutrient and salt relations of Pterocarpus officinalis L. in coastal wetlands of the Caribbean: assessment through leaf and soil analyses.
- Root nodulation in the wetland tree Pterocarpus officinalis along coastal and montane systems of Northeast of Puerto Rico
- Tracking salinity intrusions in a coastal forested freshwater wetland system
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