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The veiled ecological danger of rising sea levels

As sea levels rise, human displacement and subsequent land-use change may be as ecologically significant as the direct impacts of climate change. New work suggesting that mean sea level will rise further and faster than previously thought calls attention to the importance of these indirect processes for ecology and conservation.

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Fig. 1: Estimated population displaced and area inundated, either permanently or with increasing frequency, under a range of sea-level-rise scenarios and with a focus on 2 m and 5 m scenarios.
Fig. 2: Threat assessment for urban agglomerations and protected areas under a 2 m sea-level rise scenario.


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We thank G. Ayers, M. McGeoch and C. White for comments on a previous version of the manuscript. This work was supported by The Wellcome Trust (grant 201791/Z/16/Z).

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S.L.C. developed the initial idea, G.A.D. carried out the modelling, both authors contributed to further development, and drafting of the text.

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Correspondence to Steven L. Chown.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Methods, Supplementary References, Supplementary Figures 1 and 2

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Chown, S.L., Duffy, G.A. The veiled ecological danger of rising sea levels. Nat Ecol Evol 1, 1219–1221 (2017).

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