Abstract for:Sea Level Rise in Coupled Human and Natural Systems: A case study of East Boston

Coastal communities are increasingly affected by sea level rise and face increased risks of flooding as climate change progresses. Policy makers and government officials will have to make decisions on how they will protect these communities and the ecosystems they rely on. Failures to address environmental issues are often due to failure to understand the value of the natural system and its complex interactions with human systems. We utilized a system dynamics approach to better understand and learn how to protect the ecosystem services of Belle Isle Marsh. Our study included the following phrases: (1) Studying the ecosystem services of Belle Isle Marsh and communities bordering the marsh (2) Developing a causal loop diagram of the critical system components and (3) Developing a stock and flow model to quantify the ecosystem services provided by the marsh. With the threat of sea level rise, and the increasing call for flood protection barriers, there is a dynamic uncertainty in how sea level rise and flood protection will affect the services provided by the marsh. Our model will run multiple scenarios of sea level rise and human intervention to understand how ecosystem services could be affected in the future.