The Wadden Sea, in the Netherlands, is the largest tidal flats system in the world, and a Unesco World Heritage site. But rising sea levels have left it submerged, threatening a unique habitat for several species of wading birds.
Researchers are concerned that, as global warming accelerates, the impact on this fragile ecosystem could be huge.
“That will have a huge effect on the birds. The birds need space to eat. They will no longer have that space... what is also very important to keep in mind is that we don`t have another Wadden Sea like this one in the Netherlands. If so much territory will be lost here, then the birds will have nowhere else to go”, said Evy Gobbens, from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.
Experts predict loses of between 15 to 90 per cent of mudflats in the future, depending on the rate of global warming.