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Tim Radford – Higher sea levels and diminishing deposits of estuary silt will endanger the survival of many mangrove forests across the Pacific Ocean.

In less than one human lifetime, some of the planet’s richest and most vital coastal habitats could disappear. Sea-level rise is expected to flood and drown the mangrove forests of much of the Indo-Pacific.

These subtropical and tropical intertidal forests – home to huge varieties of fish, birds and insects, and natural buffers that protect coasts and estuaries during tropical cyclones – are at risk even if sea level rise is at the bottom of the predicted range, according to Catherine Lovelock, an ecologist at the University of Queensland.

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