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Integr Environ Assess Manag. 2017 Mar;13(2):431-443. doi: 10.1002/ieam.1798. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Integrated ecosystem services assessment: Valuation of changes due to sea level rise in Galveston Bay, Texas, USA.

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Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas, USA.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas, USA.
Ecology and Environment, Arlington, Virginia, USA.


The goal of the present study was to identify the potential changes in ecosystem service values provided by wetlands in Galveston Bay, Texas, USA, under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) A1B max (0.69 m) sea level rise scenario. Built exclusively upon the output produced during the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model 6 (SLAMM 6) exercise for the Galveston Bay region, this study showed that fresh marsh and salt marsh present a steady decline from 2009 (initial condition) to 2100. Fresh marsh was projected to undergo the biggest changes, with the loss of approximately 21% of its extent between 2009 and 2100 under the A1B max scenario. The percentages of change for salt marsh were less prominent at approximately 12%. This trend was also shown in the values of selected ecosystem services (disturbance regulation, waste regulation, recreation, and aesthetics) provided by these habitats. An ordinary least squares regression was used to calculate the monetary value of the selected ecosystem services provided by salt marsh and fresh marsh in 2009, and in 2050 and 2100 under the A1B max scenario. The value of the selected services showed potential monetary losses in excess of US$40 million annually in 2100, compared to 2009 for fresh marsh and more than $11 million for salt marsh. The estimates provided here are only small portions of what can be lost due to the decrease in habitat extent, and they highlight the need for protecting not only built infrastructure but also natural resources from sea level rise. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2017;13:431-443.


Ecosystem services; Galveston Bay; Habitat; SLAMM; Sea level rise

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