Benefits of adapting to sea level rise: the importance of ecosystem services in the French Mediterranean sandy coastline

Cécile Hérivaux*, Hélène Rey-Valette, Bénédicte Rulleau, Anne Laurence Agenais, Marianne Grisel, Laure Kuhfuss, Laure Maton, Charlotte Vinchon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article proposes an innovative approach to assess the benefits of adapting to sea level rise (SLR) in a coastal area on a regional scale. The valuation framework integrates coastal ecosystem services, together with urban and agricultural assets. We simulate the impacts of a progressive 1 m rise in sea level in the twenty-first century and an extreme flooding event in 2100 for four contrasted adaptation scenarios (Denial, “Laissez-faire”, Protection and Retreat). The assessment involves coupling the results of hazard-modelling approaches with different economic valuation methods, including direct damage functions and methods used in environmental economics. The framework is applied to the French Mediterranean sandy coastline. SLR will result in major land-use changes at the 2100 time horizon: relocation or densification of urban areas, loss of agricultural land, increase in lagoon areas and modification of wetlands (losses, migration or extension of ecosystems). Total benefits of public adaptation options planned in advance could reach €31.2 billion for the period 2010–2100, i.e. €69,000 per inhabitant (in the study area) in 2010 or €135 million/km of coastline. Our results highlight the importance of (i) raising awareness to ensure that public services and coastal managers can anticipate the consequences of SLR and (ii) incorporating coastal ecosystems into the assessment of the adaptation options. Our findings could provide a basis for participatory foresight approaches to build coastline adaptation pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1815-1828
Number of pages14
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number6
Early online date15 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Adaptation options
  • Climate change
  • Economic valuation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Sea level rise


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