Global Changes, Mangrove Forests and Implications for Hazards along Continental Shorelines
Coastal zones are becoming more hazardous due to increased population and greater susceptibility to flooding and salinization, as a result of compaction and subsidence, surface sealing and loss of buffer zones between the coast and settled areas. These conditions are exacerbated in the developing (largely equatorial) world, where rates of population increase are highest and protection schemes and mitigation strategies among the most poorly advanced. The major climate change threat to coastal forest environments is the projected increase in sea level and associated vulnerability of coastal land and inhabitants. In many cases, existing coastal forests will be squeezed between rising sea levels and agricultural land, while farmers have to contend with higher instances of damaging floods and increased salinity. The absence of adaptation strategies, such as the adoption of salt-tolerant crops and associated technologies, will force the abandonment of formerly productive land. Displacement of people will increase population pressures inland. The prognosis for forested coastlines in equatorial regions is poor and unlikely to improve while coastal environments remain locations for the juxtaposition of dynamic natural environments with relatively static, ecologically disruptive, economic activities. Mangrove forests face the combined threat of global change-induced variations in environmental conditions and clearance and over-exploitation by humans. By degrading mangrove forests, however, humans will remove one of the few effective means of protecting coastal areas from the impacts of global change. Where removal of coastal forests proceeds along with the construction of new drainage channels and the canalization of existing rivers, impacts of flood surges and intrusions of saline water are likely to be felt sooner and over larger areas than on undisturbed coastal plains. Human activity may therefore enhance the possibility of catastrophic events in the future and, therefore, their own vulnerability to cumulative hazards.
Sanderson, P. G. (2002). Global changes, mangrove forests and implications for hazards along continental shorelines. In R. C. Sidle (Ed.), Environmental change and geomorphic hazards in forests (pp. 203-230). Wallingford, United Kingdom: IUFRO Research Series, No.9, CABI Publishing.