Future losses of ecosystem services due to coastal erosion in Europe2021

    ( et alii ), GIZA A., PAPROTNY D., TEREFENKO P.Journaux et Revues (scientifiques)

    biens et services écosystémiques, effets conséquentiels

    Science of The Total Environment
    Volume 760, 15 March 2021, 144310

    • Probabilistic projections of coastal erosion are combined with land cover data.

    • The coastal zone provided 494 billion euro of ecosystem services in 2018.

    • 5500–7200 [90% confidence interval: 3800–13,000] km2 of land could erode by 2100.

    • 4.2–5.1% [3.0–8.5%] of ecosystem services could be lost by 2100.

    • Losses in relative economic terms could be locally very high (NUTS 3 level).

    Coastal erosion is a major issue facing Europe that will only worsen under future climate change and the resulting sea level rise. One effect of erosion is the loss of ecosystem services, which are provided by coastal areas, such as provisioning, regulating, habitat, and cultural services. These services can be quantified in monetary terms. Here, we present comprehensive estimates of future decline in coastal ecosystem services due to the erosion of sandy coastlines. We used datasets derived from remote sensing products: a pan-European land cover/use dataset (Corine Land Cover) and new global probabilistic coastal erosion projections constrained by artificial and topographical barriers to erosion. The results include historical changes (2000–2018) and projections under two emission scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) for 2050 and 2100 together with uncertainty bounds. We estimate that in 2018, the coastal zone (excluding open sea) included 579,700 km2 of habitats generating 494 billion euros of services annually. The future sea-level rise could erode 1.0% [90% confidence interval 0.7–1.5%] of the 2018 area under RCP4.5, and 1.2% [0.7–2.2%] under RCP8.5. The decline in services would be even greater: 4.2% [3.0–6.1%] under RCP4.5, and 5.1% [3.3–8.5%] under RCP8.5. The highest absolute losses would be sustained by salt marshes, while relative losses would be highest in beaches, sands, and dunes. The most affected countries in relative economic terms would be Denmark, Albania, Greece, Estonia, and Finland, but countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and France would be among those losing the largest share of their coastal ecosystem services. Regional analysis using NUTS 3 regions shows high diversity of the impacts, with many regions along the North Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea that are heavily affected by coastal erosion-induced loss of ecosystem services. The study highlights the urgency of undertaking mitigation actions.

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