Forecasting effects of sea-level rise and windstorms on coastal and inland ecosystems



We identify a continental-scale network of sites to evaluate how two aspects of climate change – sea-level rise and intensification of windstorms – will influence the structure, function, and capacity of coastal and inland forest ecosystems to deliver ecosystem services (eg carbon sequestration, storm protection, pollution control, habitat support, food). The network consists of coastal wetland and inland forest sites across the US and is representative of continental-level gradients of precipitation, temperature, vegetation, frequency of occurrence of major windstorms, value of insured properties, tidal range, watershed land use, and sediment availability. The network would provide real-time measurements of the characteristics of sea-level rise and windstorm events and would allow an assessment of the responses of wetlands, streams, and inland forests at spatial and temporal scales associated with sustainability of ecosystem services. We illustrate the potential of this approach with examples of hypotheses that could be tested across the network.