A STANDARD FOR ASSESSMENT OF INDIAN MANGROVES RESPONSE TO SEA-LEVEL RISE USING RSET-MH TECHNIQUE
Keywords:Mangroves, sea-level rise, surface elevation change, vertical accretion, rod surface elevation table, marker horizon
Coastal systems, globally, including wetlands, marshlands and mangrove forests, face a severe threat due to climate change and rising sea levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC AR-6) has highlighted high-stress levels in South Asian coastal systems, particularly in the Indian Ocean. Mangrove systems are particularly vulnerable and rely on peat accumulation or landward migration to survive. The rod surface elevation table marker horizon (RSET-MH) technique finds widespread usage among researchers to comprehend the response of coastal wetlands to sea-level fluctuations. However, there is a need for national-level research on mangrove response to sea-level rise and for establishing RSET stations in mangrove forests across India. Establishing comprehensive and coordinated monitoring networks for coastal wetlands is proposed to address this gap. The present study outlined the methodology adopted in setting up the first RSET-MH station in Pichavaram mangrove forest, Tamil Nadu. The estimated cost of setting up a single RSET station ranges from INR 9,000 to INR 15,000. A coordinated monitoring system for RSET stations is crucial to ensure the survival of coastal systems in the face of climate change. The study outlined a coordinated monitoring system for RSET stations across India that will help authorities develop and implement coastal climate change adaptation strategies, critical to ensure the long-term survival of mangrove systems. It would also enable researchers to comprehend how coastal wetlands have responded to sea-level fluctuations in the past and present, and identify appropriate adaptation measures to prepare for future changes.