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Deep Sea Res
Nungesser, M., Saunders, C., Coronado-Molina, C., Obeysekera, J., Johnson, J., McVoy, C., et al. (2015). Potential Effects of Climate Change on Florida's Everglades.
Restoration efforts in Florida’s Everglades focus on preserving and restoring this unique wetland’s natural landscape. Because most of the Everglades is a freshwater peatland, it requires surplus rainfall to remain a peatland. Restoration plans generally assume a stable climate, yet projections of altered climate over a 50-year time horizon suggest that this assumption may be inappropriate. Using a legacy regional hydrological model, we simulated combinations of a temperature rise of 1.5 °C, a ± 10 % change in rainfall, and a 0.46 m sea level rise relative to base conditions. The scenario of increased evapotranspiration and increased rainfall produced a slight increase in available water. In contrast, the more likely scenario of increased evapotranspiration and decreased rainfall lowered median water depths by 5–114 cm and shortened inundation duration periods by 5–45 %. Sea level rise increased stages and inundation duration in southern Everglades National Park. These ecologically significant decreases in water depths and inundation duration periods would greatly alter current ecosystems through severe droughts, peat loss and carbon emissions, wildfires, loss of the unique ridge and slough patterns, large shifts in plant and animal communities, and increased exotic species invasions. These results suggest using adaptive restoration planning, a method that explicitly incorporates large climatic and environmental uncertainties into long-term ecosystem restoration plans, structural design, and management. Anticipated water constraints necessitate alternative approaches to restoration, including maintaining critical landscapes and facilitating transitions in others. Accommodating these uncertainties may improve the likelihood of restoration success.
Adaptive restoration planning
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