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Pacific island mangroves in a changing climate and rising sea

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Mangrove ecosystems provide important and valuable services and products to Pacific Island communities, but are under threat from changing environmental conditions. This publication highlights results and recommendations from a study determining mangrove vulnerability and how Pacific island nations can adapt to mangrove responses to climate change effects. Adaptation elements include community-based approaches, integrated coastal zone management, building increased mangrove resistance and resilience, and outreach activities.The report finds that:with climate change-induced sea level rise, a reduction of much as 13 percent of the current total area of Pacific mangroves is possible by the year 2100increased frequency and levels of extreme high water events could affect the position and health of coastal ecosystems and pose a hazard to coastal development and human safetythe responses of mangrove wetlands to the impacts of climate change other than seal level rise are less certain and not well understood.Capacity-building priorities to address mangrove responses to climate change effects include:strengthening the regulation and management of coastal activities and develop a plan for adaptation to mangrove responses to climate change effects. The latter includes conducting site-specific mangrove vulnerability assessments and reducing non-climate change stresses that degrade mangrovesdevelopment of a mangrove conservation ethic through outreach and educationthe provision of training opportunities for the monitoring and assessment of relevant mangrove parameters to facilitate adaptive managementestablishing mangrove baselines and monitoring gradual changes with the help of regional networks.Considerations for developing a coastal site planning and adaptation strategy include:management authorities are encouraged to assess site-specific mangrove vulnerability to climate change effects now and not wait for problems to become apparent when options for adaptation will be restrictedcommunity-based approaches are appropriate in many areas of the Pacific Islands regionthe policy adopted to manage site-based shoreline response to rising sea level should be made as part of a broader integrated coastal management planning analysismangrove rehabilitation, and enhancing degraded mangroves by removing stresses and creating new mangrove habitat will contribute to offset the anticipated reductions in mangrove area and health, and increase their resilience to climate change effects.