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Modeling Coastal Blue Carbon Sequestration in Northern Gulf Coast Marsh Migrations

Presentation Date
Friday, December 15, 2023 at 2:10pm - Friday, December 15, 2023 at 6:30pm
MC - Poster Hall A-C - South



Marshlands are the most efficient terrestrial carbon sink among land cover types. However, despite their potential utility for carbon sequestration, coastal marshes are globally threatened by the combined anthropogenic effects of sea level rise (SLR) and land use change. This is especially potent in the Gulf Coast which consistently ranks as one of the most vulnerable areas to SLR in the United States. While studies have been done to understand the interplay between sea level rise and carbon sequestration in marshes at the regional level, localized data sets are needed to provide stakeholders effective management strategies at an actionable scale. This study aims to model carbon sequestration against the effects of sea level rise and land use change in several study sites in the northern Gulf coast using the Natural Capital’s InVEST Coastal Blue Carbon model to map and assign estimated economic valuations to shifts in carbon stocks. Forecasting future sea level rise was performed using Warren Pinnacle’s Sea Level Affecting Marsh Model (SLAMM) while hindcasting data was taken from the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology’s work with historic color infrared photography mapping. Preliminary results from sea level rise predictions indicate significant inundation of non-wetland land cover classes and resilience in saltwater marshes with the 2025-2050 period experiencing the most transition. The resiliency of saltwater marshes suggests that they may retain their carbon stocks and associated economic value under moderate rates of SLR in these regions.

Global Environmental Change
Funding Program Area(s)