Ecosystem services values at risk in the Atlantic coastal zone due to sea-level rise and socioeconomic development

Magalhães Filho, L.N.L.; Roebeling, P.C.; Costa, L.F.C.; Lima, L.T. de


Uncertainties about the future extent of sea-level rise (SLR) and socioeconomic development will determine the future of coastal ecosystem services and values. This study analyzes the joint impact of flooding and socioeconomic development on the future ecosystem services and values in the Atlantic coastal zone by 2100. To this end, flood probability maps (using the Uncertainty Bathtub Model; uBTM) and local ecosystem service value (ESV) estimates (using meta-analytic based global ecosystem service value functions for Provisioning, Regulating & maintenance, and Cultural ecosystem services across 12 biomes) are derived for a wide combination of Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) and Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) scenarios to obtain future values of coastal ecosystem services (ES). Results show that the higher potential of ESV at risk is associated with RCP 8.5 and SSP5, i.e. the scenario associated with a narrative related to fossil-fueled development. For this scenario, by 2100, the coastal zone with the highest probable losses in Provisioning ESV is Europe (∼5.9 € billion/year), for Regulating & maintenance ESV this is North America (∼6.0 € billion/year) and for Cultural ESV this is South America (∼21.3 € billion/year). Countries facing highest relative risk of losing Provisioning ESV are the Netherlands (10.6 %), United States (7.4 %), and Mauritania (5.8 %). For Regulating & maintenance ESV, the top 3 countries impacted are Mauritania (17.6 %), the Netherlands (10.0 %) and Argentina (8.0 %). For Cultural ESV, the countries are Mexico (19.0 %), Denmark (18.1 %) and Sweden (15.6 %). Changes in ESV are exponentially related to flood risk and economic growth, such that small changes in flood or income lead to large changes in ESV. Unlike previous studies, the ESV functions used are dependent on time and local factors, such as population and income. Although population and income growth result in an increase in ESV, it also emphasizes the ecosystem service values at risk. Thus, sea-level rise and socioeconomic changes impact ecosystem services and values – directly affecting the well-being of the world population. The unequal distribution of coastal ecosystem service value losses across continents and countries highlighted in this work is important to identify what values are at risk and for whom. Adaptation measures and strategies can, in turn, be defined.