The Suffolk coast is one of the most important areas for wetland wildlife in the UK. Over about 65 km of coastline there is an almost continuous semi-natural habitat, connected inland by a number of river valleys (Figure 1). It is diverse, has international and national importance for its bird life and freshwater habitats, and is also important for invertebrates and mammals. Large areas are protected and are part of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for coastal and coastal floodplain habitats. The combination of freshwater, coastal and estuarine habitats, along with the dynamic coastal processes of erosion and deposition of sands and gravels as bars and spits, creates an area of biodiversity that is unparalleled in the UK.
It is now an accepted fact that sea levels will rise as average global temperatures increase, and glaciers and ice sheets melt. Current estimates of sea-level rise published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) range from 9 cm to 88 cm by 2100. Given the quantity of water held in the ice caps, and the estimate that the sea level was 6 m higher than it is today during the last interglacial period, sea levels may continue to rise above current predictions for the next 100 years.
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