Linhoss, A.C.; Kiker, G.; Shirley M., and Frank K., 2015. Sea-level rise, inundation, and marsh migration: simulating impacts on developed lands and environmental systems.
Sea-level rise is expected to affect natural and urban areas by shifting habitats and inundating infrastructure. To plan for a sustainable future, it is important to identify both human and ecological vulnerabilities to sea-level rise. Here, we simulate impacts to urban, developed lands and environmental systems from sea-level rise by analyzing land cover (surface cover) and land use (land purpose) in the Matanzas River study area in NE Florida. The Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) simulated land-cover change through wetland migration under three sea-level rise scenarios. Parcel data, including land use classification and land valuation, was overlaid on the simulated, future land cover. Our analysis describes a 2- to 5-km-wide longitudinal band along the NE coast of Florida of expected land-cover change where sea-level rise will likely cause inundation and wetland migration. Under a 0.9-m scenario by 2100, 5,332 ha of land (5% of the study area) will be threatened by some type of land-cover change, and inundation was estimated to affect approximately US$177 million in present property value. The migration of wetlands out of current areas and into new areas is of particular concern because (1) those wetlands will have to keep pace with sea-level rise, and (2) accommodation space must be available for new wetlands to move into. Developed lands have the possibility of hindering up to 6% of the area that wetlands may migrate into. These methods and findings are important for sustainable planning under future climate change.