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Migration and transformation of coastal wetlands in response to rising seas

June 29, 2022
Coastal wetlands are not only among the world’s most valued ecosystems but also among the most threatened by high greenhouse gas emissions that lead to accelerated sea level rise. There is intense debate regarding the extent to which landward migration of wetlands might compensate for seaward wetland losses. By integrating data from 166 estuaries across the conterminous United States, we show that landward migration of coastal wetlands will transform coastlines but not counter seaward losses. Two-thirds of potential migration is expected to occur at the expense of coastal freshwater wetlands, while the remaining one-third is expected to occur at the expense of valuable uplands, including croplands, forests, pastures, and grasslands. Our analyses underscore the need to better prepare for coastal transformations and net wetland loss due to rising seas.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Migration and transformation of coastal wetlands in response to rising seas
DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abo5174
Authors Michael Osland, Bogdan Chivoiu, Nicholas Enwright, Karen M. Thorne, Glenn R. Guntenspergen, James Grace, Leah Dale, William Brooks, Nathaniel Herold, John W. Day, Fred H. Sklar, Christopher M. Swarzenski
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science Advances
Series Number
Index ID 70233606
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Louisiana Water Science Center