Coastal dynamics and adaptation to uncertain sea level rise: optimal portfolios for salt marsh migration

Orencio Duran Vinent, Robert J. Johnston, Matthew L. Kirwan, Anke D. Leroux, Vance L. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The sustainability of dynamic natural systems often depends on their capacity to adapt to uncertain climate-related changes, where different management options may be combined to facilitate this adaptation. Salt marshes exemplify such a system. Marsh sustainability under rapid sea level rise requires the preservation of transgression zones - undeveloped uplands onto which marshes migrate. Whether these uplands eventually become marsh depends on uncertain sea level rise and natural dynamics that determine migration onto different land types. Under conditions such as these, systematically diversified management actions generally outperform ad hoc or non-diversified alternatives. This paper develops the first adaptation portfolio model designed to optimize the benefits of a migrating coastal system. Results are illustrated using a case study of marsh conservation in Virginia, USA. Results suggest that models of this type can enhance adaptation benefits beyond those available through current approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102262
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Benefit
  • Climate change
  • Diversification
  • Geomorphology
  • Optimal conservation
  • Risk
  • Spatial
  • Wetland

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