“Resilient Coastal Sites for conservation in the South Atlantic United States” with Analie Barnett and Mark Anderson, The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Science Program
Coastal areas in the South Atlantic provide critical habitat for wildlife and are home to a human population that continues to grow faster than that of inland areas. Yet coastal wetland sites vary widely in their ability to accommodate rising seas, based on inherent natural features and the degree of human influence on key ecological processes. Scientists from The Nature Conservancy evaluated over 1,200 coastal sites in the South Atlantic for their capacity to sustain biodiversity and natural services under increasing inundation from sea level rise. Each site received a resilience “score” based on the likelihood that its coastal habitats can and will migrate to adjacent lowlands. With no action, the region could experience an estimated 77% loss of existing tidal habitats to severe inundation. However, there are many sites where tidal habitats could increase and expand through landward migration, reversing this trend. With conservation and management, these resilient sites have the potential to offset over 60% of the estimated tidal habitat loss, providing critical habitat for birds and other wildlife, and buffering communities from the effects of storms and floods.
In this webinar, we will provide an overview of our approach to identify resilient coastal sites in the South Atlantic, examine the results, and show different ways the results can be used such as to prioritize land acquisition, identify areas for restoration, locate repetitively flooded marsh migration space, and find roads that may fragment future marsh areas.
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