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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

3.0 Conducting a

3.0 Conducting a Vulnerability Assessment3.4 Ground surface elevations in andbehind mangrovesApproach Expertise/ Technology needed Time taken Cost Contribution to VAdGPS High Some High Rather highWater level Some Some Some Rather highWhat is it?This is a survey of ground elevations in the mangrovearea and immediately to landward, preferably relatedto the country’s mean sea level datum.If the mangrove area and species zones are withinsmaller elevation brackets, this increases the mangrovearea’s sensitivity to sea level rise. This is mostlycontrolled by tidal range, which is an exposure factor(Figure 3). If there are few areas inland that are ofsuitable elevation for mangrove migration, this reducesadaptive capacity.Why do it?Mangrove species zonation is evident in mostmangroves and is controlled by elevation of thesubstrate or mud surface through the influence this hason inundation frequency/duration, salinity and soiloxygen levels (Watson, 1928). Because their habitatoccurs between mean sea levels and high tide levels,mangroves are particularly sensitive to sea level rise.Therefore, measurement of mangrove elevations isa useful part of a vulnerability assessment. Althougha mangrove area has a very low elevation range, asit occupies only half of the intertidal zone, there is amicro-topographic gradient from the seaward edge tothe landward edge, and height thresholds within thisgradient are preferred by different species, such asRhizophora at the seaward edge and Bruguiera towardthe landward edge (Figure 21).The survey datum for elevation in each country isrelated to mean sea level. With rising sea level theinundation frequency and duration will increase,thereby changing the microhabitats of mangrovespecies zones. Sea level rise is one of the greatestimpacts of climate change on mangroves (Table 1).Storms, rainfall changes and reduced productivity canalso affect mangrove mud accretion.Tolerance of a wider elevation bracket and of deeperwater indicates more “climate-smart” or resilientmangrove species with regard to sea level rise. This canguide species selection when mangrove replanting isundertaken as an adaptation action (Section 5).How to collect dataElevation of the mangrove substrate at the seawardedge and species zone transitions within the mangrovearea and at the landward edge can be determined usinga number of methods from low-technology (Englishet al., 1997) to high-technology, or a combination ofboth. These methods are described in the followingsubsections. Elevation surveys are best related to thecountry’s mean sea level datum, as used by permanentsurvey benchmarks and the datum of any tide gauge.This datum provides an accurate elevation againstwhich changes such as rising sea level are measured.3.4.1 High-technology methodsHandheld GPS units are not useful for elevationsurveys, as the vertical error of these units is too greatto distinguish the small vertical differences withinmangroves. Differential GPS (dGPS) and electronicdistance meters (EDM) are high-technology groundtechniques that give good vertical accuracy. BothdGPS and EDM involve a tripod-mounted receiver orelectronic level that relates to a mobile rover pole orreflector that is moved around the survey site.Differential GPS (dGPS) determines the difference inposition between a GPS rover receiver on a positionwithin the mangroves and another tripod-mountedGPS receiver at a known survey point. These receiversdo not need line of sight to each other, but dorequire a fairly clear view of the sky. This techniqueClimate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems | 37

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