The socioeconomic future of deltas in a changing environment
Deltas are especially vulnerable to climate change given their low-lying location and exposure to storm surges, coastal and fluvial flooding, sea level rise and subsidence. Increases in such events and other circumstances are contributing to the change in the environmental conditions in the deltas, which translates into changes in the productivity of ecosystems and, ultimately, into impacts on livelihoods and human well-being. Accordingly, climate change will affect not only the biophysical conditions of deltaic environments but also their economic circumstances. Furthermore, these economic implications will spill over to other regions through goods and services supply chains and via migration. In this paper we take a wider view about some of the specific studies within this Special Issue. We analyse the extent to which the biophysical context of the deltas contributes to the sustainability of the different economic activities, in the deltas and in other regions. We construct a set of environmental-extended multiregional input-output databases and Social Accounting Matrices that are used to trace the flow of provisioning ecosystem services across the supply chains, providing a view of the links between the biophysical environment and the economic activities. We also integrate this information into a Computable General Equilibrium model to assess how the changes in the provision of natural resources due to climate change can potentially affect the economies of the deltas and linked regions, and how this in turn affects economic vulnerability and sustainability in these regions.