Exploratory modelling of the impacts of sea-level rise on the Sundarbans mangrove forest, West Bengal, India

Sourav Samanta, Sugata Hazra, Jon R. French, Robert J. Nicholls, Partho P. Mondal

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In this paper we conduct exploratory simulations of the possible evolution of the Indian Sundarbans mangroves to 2100 under a range of future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios, considering the effects of both inundation and shoreline erosion. The Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) is used to simulate habitat transitions due to inundation and these outputs are combined with an empirical model of SLR-driven shoreline erosion. A set of plausible climate-induced SLR scenarios are considered, together with delta subsidence and constrained vertical sediment accretion. Significant mangrove decline is found in all cases: the greater the rise in sea level the greater the losses. By the end of the century, the Indian Sundarbans mangroves could lose between 42 % and 80 % of their current area if current management is continued. Managed realignment could offset these losses but at the expense of productive land and the migration of the human population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number166624
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date27 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2023

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