Rising tides, rising gates

the complex ecogeomorphic response of coastal wetlands to sea-level rise and human interventions

Steven G. Sandi, José F. Rodríguez, Neil Saintilan, Gerardo Riccardi, Patricia M. Saco*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Coastal wetlands are vulnerable to submergence due to sea-level rise, as shown by predictions of up to 80% of global wetland loss by the end of the century. Coastal wetlands with mixed mangrove-saltmarsh vegetation are particularly vulnerable because sea-level rise can promote mangrove encroachment on saltmarsh, reducing overall wetland biodiversity. Here we use an ecogeomorphic framework that incorporates hydrodynamic effects, mangrove-saltmarsh dynamics, and soil accretion processes to assess the effects of control structures on wetland evolution. Migration and accretion patterns of mangrove and saltmarsh are heavily dependent on topography and control structures. We find that current management practices that incorporate a fixed gate for the control of mangrove encroachment are useful initially, but soon become ineffective due to sea-level rise. Raising the gate, to counteract the effects of sea level rise and promote suitable hydrodynamic conditions, excludes mangrove and maintains saltmarsh over the entire simulation period of 100 years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-148
    Number of pages14
    JournalAdvances in Water Resources
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


    • Coastal wetlands
    • Ecogeomorphic modelling
    • Mangrove
    • Saltmarsh
    • Sea-level rise

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