The impacts of coastal squeezing on coastal meadow plant communities in Denmark

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

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Jesper Erenskjold Moeslund - Lecturer

  • Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity

Predictions from the IPCC and Horton et al. (2008) demonstrate a likely sea level rise ranging from 0.18 to 0.89 m by year 2100 relative to the current sea level. Till now little work has been performed to elucidate the effects of such a future sea level rise on coastal meadow plant communities. Traditionally, coastal meadows in Denmark are divided into four contiguous community zones each reflecting the local soil salinity. In response to a future sea level rise a landward migration of these communities is likely. It is hard to imagine unhindered migration as the upper boundaries of the meadows typically comprises dikes or farm lands, acting as barriers. Consequently, the area between the barrier and the sea including the coastal meadows will shrink, a phenomenon called coastal squeezing. Using a new national 1.6-m Digital Elevation Model and data from the Danish national plant survey program (NOVANA) we demonstrate a significant negative correlation between elevation above sea level and the average level of adaption to salinity in the plant communities. We show a similar positive relationship between elevation and plant species richness. Based on this, we develop models to predict the coverage of the four community zones in contemporary and future coastal meadows in Denmark. From these models we conclude that coastal squeezing is likely to entail the loss of one or more of the coastal meadow zones and the plants traditionally found within these. This arguably leads to loss of biodiversity and a restructuring of the coastal meadow plant communities.

Emneord: Atlantic Salt Meadows, Habitat types, Coastal squeezing, Global warming, Sea level rise
4 Mar 2009

Event (Conference)

TitleFagmøde om overvågning af terrestriske naturtyper og arter i NOVANA


  • Atlantic Salt Meadows, Habitat types, Coastal squeezing, Global warming, Sea level rise

ID: 15914139