Typical flowering plants on sand dunes on the Spanish coast. Credit: Mick Hanley, University of Plymouth

Losing coastal plant communities to climate change will weaken sea defences

Coastal plant communities are a crucial element of global sea defences but are increasingly threatened by the human-induced effects of climate change, according to new research.

Rissing sea levels and the increased frequency and intensity of extreme storm events are having a visible, global impact on beaches, cliff faces and coastal infrastructure.

But a new report suggests their impact on coastal plants, an integral part of shoreline defences, needs to be placed in greater focus.

The research was led by the University of Plymouth, in conjunction with scientists at Utrecht University and Manchester Metropolitan University, and is published in a special edition of the journal Annals of Botany.

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More information: Mick E Hanley et al, The gathering storm: optimizing management of coastal ecosystems in the face of a climate-driven threat, Annals of Botany (2019).  DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcz204Journal information: Annals of Botany