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Mangrove retreat with rising sea-level, Bermuda

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 03:48 authored by Joanna EllisonJoanna Ellison
Low island mangroves keep up with slow sea-level rise by peat accumulation. Holocene stratigraphic records show that they maintain the same pace as sea-level rise at rates up to 9 cm/100 years. Tide gauge records from Bermuda since 1932 show sea-level rise at a rate of 28 cm/100 years. The largest mangrove area (6·26 acres) at Hungry Bay has for the last 2000 years been building peat at a rate of 8·5 to 10·6 cm/100 years. Retreat of the seaward edge has caused loss of 2·24 acres of mangroves, commencing in the last few hundred years, with a second dieback between 1900 and 1947, and a third dieback in the last decade. The substrate elevation of the seaward margin of mangroves is below mean sea-level, the normal lower limit for mangroves. Present dieback shows problems of erosion indicating that the Bruun Rule of beach erosion with sea-level rise is also appropriate for mangrove swamps. Stratigraphy shows that before 4000 BP sea-level rose at a rate of 25 cm/100 years, from 4000 to 1000 years BP the rate of sea-level rise declined to 6 cm/100 years during which time mangroves established, and in the last 1000 years there was an increase to 14·3 cm/100 years, during which time the mangroves died back. This study indicates that low island mangroves will experience problems with the rates of sea-level rise predicted for the next 50 years.


Publication title

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science








School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd

Place of publication

24-28 Oval Rd, London, England, Nw1 7Dx

Rights statement

Copyright 1993 Academic Pres

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts)

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