Title

THE RESPONSE OF DELTAIC WETLANDS TO RELATIVE SEA LEVEL RISE: NATURAL MECHANISMS AND MANAGEMENT OPTIONS IN MEDITERRANEAN ECOSYSTEMS

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

We hypothesize that with a proper management fluvial-dominated wetlands could survive high rates of relative sea-level rise (> 1 cm yr-1) that may occur due to global warming. There are three main feed-back mechanisms for deltaic wetlands to cope with sea level rise that enhance the efficiency of the deltaic sedimentary trap: a) an increase in the frequency and magnitude of flooding in the deltaic wetlands; b) an increase in the frequency of delta lobe switching leading to the formation of new lobes in shallow areas; c) an increase in the frequency of overwash events in the delta fringe. The current view is that hard coastal protection is the best strategy, but for the case of deltas a more functional adaptation strategy based on ecosystem restoration can be envisioned provided that natural processes are managed to increase system’s resilience. Results on wetland accretion, carbon sequestration and elevation change from Mediterranean deltaic wetlands (Ebro Delta and San Francisco Bay) are shown to illustrate feed-backs for inorganic and organic accretion as a function of flooding, salinity and wetland habitat.

Journal

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

Volume

2015 Aquatic Sciences Meeting