Between a bog and a hard place: a global review of climate change effects on coastal freshwater wetlands

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Grieger, Rebekah
Capon, Samantha J
Hadwen, Wade L
Mackey, Brendan
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Coastal wetlands are significant components of the coastal landscape with important roles in ecosystem service provision and mitigation of climate change. They are also likely to be the system most impacted by climate change, feeling the effects of sea levels rise, temperature increases and rainfall regime changes. Climate change impacts on estuarine coastal wetlands (mangroves, saltmarsh) have been thoroughly investigated; however, the impacts on coastal freshwater wetlands (CFWs) are relatively unknown. To explore the current knowledge of the impacts of climate change on CFWs globally, we undertook a systematic quantitative literature review of peer-reviewed published literature. We found surprisingly little research (110 papers of an initial 678), the majority of which was conducted in the USA, focusing on the effects of sea level rise (SLR) on CFW vegetation or sediment accretion processes. From this research, we know that SLR will lead to reduced productivity, reduced regeneration, and increased mortality in CFW vegetation but little is known regarding the effects of other climate change drivers. Sediment accretion is also not sufficient to keep pace with SLR in many CFWs and again the effects of other climate drivers have not been investigated. The combination of unhealthy vegetation communities and minimal gain in vertical elevation can result in a transition towards a vegetation community of salt-tolerant species but more research is required to understand this process.

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Climatic Change
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Climate change impacts and adaptation
Environmental management
Conservation and biodiversity
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Grieger, R; Capon, SJ; Hadwen, WL; Mackey, B, Between a bog and a hard place: a global review of climate change effects on coastal freshwater wetlands, Climatic Change, 2020