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Managing estuaries under a changing climate: A case study of the Humber Estuary, UK

Lonsdale, Jemma Anne; Leach, Chloe; Parsons, Dan; Barkwith, Andrew; Manson, Susan; Elliott, Michael


Jemma Anne Lonsdale

Chloe Leach

Dan Parsons

Andrew Barkwith

Susan Manson

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Professor Mike Elliott
Emeritus Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies


Estuaries are globally important zones for urban, recreational and commercial activities as well as supporting a range of habitats and species of significant ecological importance. The role of estuaries is recognised by the legislative framework that has been developed to protect and manage these areas as well as those species and resources in adjoining habitats. However, estuaries worldwide are subject to a number of major threats, including increasing industrialisation and urbanisation, increasing resource scarcity notably for space and energy, and the impacts of climate change, sea-level rise and related increases in vulnerability and decreases in resilience. In addition to local pressures, climate change is now increasingly recognised as having a range of severe impacts on estuarine ecosystem functions and services, but current legislation and associated management may not necessarily be wholly appropriate to deal with these longer-term changes. Here we consider how the current legislation and management addresses the potential impacts of climate change on a large estuarine system. Alongside a set of recommendations, we emphasise that the implementation of governance instruments needs to be underpinned by continued monitoring, improved modelling and enhanced predictive capabilities and integration and collaboration across management levels.


Lonsdale, J. A., Leach, C., Parsons, D., Barkwith, A., Manson, S., & Elliott, M. (2022). Managing estuaries under a changing climate: A case study of the Humber Estuary, UK. Environmental science & policy, 134, 75-84.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 21, 2022
Publication Date 2022-08
Deposit Date Jun 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 22, 2023
Journal Environmental Science and Policy
Print ISSN 1462-9011
Electronic ISSN 1873-6416
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 134
Pages 75-84
Keywords Climate change; Estuary; Management; Legislation
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