Wednesday 19 August 2020

Risk factors for coastal conservation revealed by the Canterbury earthquakes

We're pleased to announce publication of the companion paper to ‘Coastal tectonics and habitat squeeze’ in the international journal Science of the Total Environment.

This paper investigates the resilience of coastal vegetation to the effects of relative sea-level change which is the subject of very few empirical studies due to the scarcity of sea-level change events of appreciable magnitude in modern times. The novel opportunity provided by the Canterbury earthquakes allowed us to design a robust impact assessment to quantify effects and identify anthropogenic factors that influenced the pattern of losses or gains. 

The findings illustrate opportunities for managing risks to coastal vegetation types such as saltmarsh which are threatened by sea-level rise. 

The conservation of these characteristic ecosystems is of global importance for the sequestration and storage of blue carbon alongside many other ecosystem services that include considerable habitat values for characteristic wildlife such as waders and shorebirds in the Christchurch case.

In summarising results from the study we derived four key principles for building the resilience of coastal ecosystems that will be of interest to coastal managers worldwide.

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