Low-lying coastal areas are high-risk areas regarding sea-level rise (SLR) due to the combination of low elevation, subsidence and currently low sediment supply, on the one hand, and their high natural and socio-economic values, on the other. Because of this, there is a growing need to assess the integrated impact of SLR taking into account the interactions between physical and ecological factors to make more informed decisions for the design of adaptation strategies. This study presents a methodology for improved SLR-induced flood-damage assessments in natural areas which is composed of (i) a pseudo-dynamic method coupling equilibrium-based coastal response and classical bathtub modeling approaches and (ii) a simple method to account for habitat conversion following inundation. This methodology is applied to low-lying coastal areas of Catalonia under different SLR scenarios, which show very different sensitivities depending on the configuration of the water-land border, topography, geomorphology, and degree of human impact on the floodplain. In terms of potential impact, natural habitats will be the most benefited from the likely conversion at the expense of agriculture lands. This can help coastal managers to adopt adaptation strategies where considering the inherent capacity of some coastal landscapes to adapt opens up new alternatives.
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