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Global Climate Change Fact Sheets

As part of the United States Global Change Research Program research framework on coastal lands and ecosystems, the Biological Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey (National Wetlands Research Center) entered into partnership with Rice University, Louisiana State University, Duke University, Clemson University, University of Southwestern Louisiana (University of Louisiana Lafayette), the University of Georgia, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Studies (University of Virginia) to:

  1. document the current state and vulnerability of coastal ecosystems including an assessment of past changes in land-cover.
  2. develop an understanding of the processes which underlie these changes.
  3. predict the extent of future alterations to these habitats and the consequences for the sustainability of the resource and land base.

These documents, published during 1997, summarize the initial findings of our collaborative efforts. An integrated approach addressing questions at the species, community, and landscape levels of organization focuses on factors related to hydroperiod, sea-level rise, disturbance events, and coastal marsh submergence.

The publications on this list are available in full from this web site, in the form of PDF files. We recommend using Adobe Reader to view these documents. To download a document, click on the document image.

Using Remote Sensing to Monitor Global Change
Using Remote Sensing to Monitor Global Change June 1997
To properly respond to natural and human-induced stresses to wetlands, resource managers must consider their functions and values. Remote sensing is an important tool for monitoring wetland responses to changes in the hydrologic regime and water quality caused by global climate change and sea-level rise.
Modeling Hurricane Effects on Mangrove Ecosystems
Modeling Hurricane Effects on Mangrove Ecosystems June 1997
Mangrove ecosystems are at their most northern limit along the coastline of Florida and in isolated areas of the gulf coast in Louisiana and Texas. Mangroves are marine-based forests that have adapted to colonize and persist in salty intertidal waters.
Predicting Coastal Flooding and Wetland Loss
Predicting Coastal Flooding and Wetland Loss June 1997
The southeastern coastal region encompasses vast areas of wetland habitat important to wildlife and other economically valuable natural resources. Located on the interface between sea and land, these wetland habitats are affected by both sea-level rise and hurricanes, and possibly by hydroperiod associated with regional climatic shifts.
Effects of Climate Change on Southeastern Forests
Effects of Climate Change on Southeastern Forests June 1997
Forests of the coastal plain region of the southeastern United States are among the most productive in North America. Because they form the basis of a large timber and wood products industry, these forests are of considerable economic importance.
Salt Tolerance of Southern Baldcypress
Salt Tolerance of Southern Baldcypress June 1997
Historically, cypress-tupelo swamps covered much of the low-lying coastal regions of the Southeast. However, saltwater intrusion and increased flooding over the past 30 years, combined with past logging, have depleted the numbers and decreased the survival and growth of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) in coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.
Global Warming, Sea-level Rise, Coastal Marsh Survival
Global Warming, Sea-level Rise, Coastal Marsh Survival June 1997
Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. These wetlands at the land-ocean margin provide many direct benefits to humans, including habitat for commercially important fisheries and wildlife; storm protection; improved water quality through sediment, nutrient, and pollution removal; recreation; and aesthetic values.
Global Change and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Research
Global Change and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Research June 1997
Communities of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) are important components of many freshwater, brackish, and marine aquatic ecosystems. They prevent erosion by baffling the impacts of waves, especially from storms. These aquatic plant communities remove nutrients and other pollutants from river and runoff inputs to coastal areas, preventing their entry into surrounding waters.
Coastal Wetlands and Global Change: Overview
Coastal Wetlands and Global Change: Overview June 1997
The potential impacts of climate change are of great practical concern to those interested in coastal wetland resources. Among the areas of greatest risk in the United States are low-lying coastal habitats with easily eroded substrates which occur along the northen Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic coasts.


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