Consequences from Sea Water on Land

Loss of Habitats and Ecosystem Services

Researcher in Deltares

The densely populated Mekong River Delta, the world’s third largest delta, is considered one of Southeast Asia’s most important food baskets.

Rich biodiversity hot spots are found in the delta. The delta is increasingly affected by human activities and exposed to subsidence and coastal erosion. Erosion and land loss now affect over 50% of the delta shoreline. Shoreline erosion is already responsible for displacement of coastal communities. Loss of productive mangrove belts and intertidal areas that stabilized the shores and protected the hinterland from storm surges make the coastal communities more vulnerable to accelerated subsidence and sea-level rise.

Green is vegetation, red is loss of vegetation.

Climate Adaptation: Urban Delta Planning


Socio-economic development will be a major driver of impacts besides sea level rise. The Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ), the area below 10m above mean sea level, constitutes 2% of the world’s land area but is home to 10% of the world’s population (600 million people). Under every socio-economic scenario, population is expected to exceed 1 billion in the LECZ in 2050.

Global impact: Ignoring sea level rise could result in up to US$50 trillion in annual flood damage under the high-end scenario. 12% of the coastline accounts for 89% of coastal population and 94% of coastal floodplain assets.

Map of South East Asia
Population in Low Elevation Coastal Zones, 1990-2100