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Monday, 06 August 2018 00:00

UK salt-marshes threatened due to sea-level rise

UK salt marshes threatened due to sea-level rise UK salt marshes threatened due to sea-level rise.

 A new study shows that UK's salt-marshes will be threatened due to sea-level rise by 2100.

The researchers use, for the first time, records of past losses and sea-level change in order to evaluate marshes' vulnerability. Tidal marshes consist one of the most vulnerable ecosystem in Earth. History documents are not in favor of salt-marshes survival. The study, led by former Rutgers-New Brunswick Professor Benjamin Horton – now acting chair and a professor at the Asian School of the Environment at Nanyang Technological University, shows that sea level rise in the past provoked increased waterlogging of the marshes thus killing the vegetation that is vital in such an environment. The database of the study includes an enormous 800 salt-march soil cores.

Robert E. Kopp, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers–New Brunswick and director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences states: "By 2100, if we continue upon a high-emissions trajectory, essentially all British salt marshes will face a high risk of loss. Reducing emissions significantly increase the odds that salt marshes will survive.'' Professor Horton adds ''Salt marshes, also called coastal wetlands, are important because they provide vital ecosystem services. They act as a buffer against coastal storms to protect the mainland and a filter for pollutants to decontaminate our fresh water. We also lose an important biodiversity hotspot. Salt marshes are important transitional habitats between the ocean and the land, and a nursery area for fish, crustacea, and insects. The take-home point from this paper is how quickly we are going to lose these ecologically and economically important coastal areas in the 21st century."

While the study focuses on UK's salt-marshes, the same hazard appears in other environments like the areas with mangroves in Southeast Asia which is also vulnerable to sea-level rise. The researchers point out that their target is to further evaluate this issue in the future.


Read 366 times Last modified on Thursday, 09 August 2018 15:58

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