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VIMS professor authors paper on land conversion from sea-level rise

A review study led by a Virginia Institute of Marine Science professor, recently published in an edition of the scientific journal “Nature Climate Change,” is highlighting the increased risk faced by rural, coastal localities as it relates to privately-owned land.

“The paper, based on research funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first effort to synthesize the growing number of studies of land conversion driven by sea-level rise,” a VIMS press release noted. Specifically mentioned in the report was the increasing rate of “ghost forests,” that is, wooded shoreline areas that are slowly being converted into marshland as rising tides kill off trees.

“Ghost forests are one of the most prominent indicators of climate change,” said Matt Kirwan, lead author on the study and associate professor at VIMS, “recent research shows that submergence of rural land … is widespread, ecologically and economically important, and g...

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