Why is this important?
Tidal marshes protect people and property against storm surges and flooding, improve water quality, create habitat for commercially important fish and wildlife, and offer many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Their ability to capture and store large amounts of carbon dioxide also makes marshes important allies in efforts to address climate change.
With sea levels projected to increase much faster in the future, the fate of many marshes is now uncertain. The ability to understand and compare the likelihood of marshes to persist in the face of rising seas can inform strategies to protect them. For example:
- Marshes found to be highly resilient are likely to thrive and provide value for a long time; ensuring that they are protected is a good investment for the future.
- Moderately resilient marshes can survive if actions are taken to help them thrive, such as reconnecting them to the rivers that nourish them with sediment.
- The least resilient may not survive in their current locations; they might be saved through intensive management strategies or by finding opportunities for them migrate to higher ground.