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Use of ecosystems in coastal erosion management
Adriana Gracia, C.; Rangel-Buitrago, N.; Oakley, J.A.; Williams, A. (2018). Use of ecosystems in coastal erosion management. Ocean Coast. Manag. 156: 277-289.
In: Ocean & Coastal Management. Elsevier Science: Barking. ISSN 0964-5691; e-ISSN 1873-524X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Erosion > Coastal erosion
    Management engineering

Authors  Top 
  • Adriana Gracia, C.
  • Rangel-Buitrago, N.
  • Oakley, J.A.
  • Williams, A.

    With a global increase in coastal development, together with increasing storminess and continuing sea level rise, coastal erosion has become a serious problem along a significant percentage of coastlines of many countries. Coastal erosion and shoreline management plans are often implemented on an action-reaction and post-disaster basis, resulting in installation of hard engineering structures, such as, groins, seawalls, revetments, gabions and breakwaters. These hard stabilization structures usually alter the natural environment of the coast, producing negative impacts. They do little to work with nature, and sustainability is a currently a critical issue. Under present and future environmental conditions, the world requires smarter coastal protection strategies that are adaptable, sustainable, multi-functional and economically viable to help solve immediate and predicted coastal erosion problems. An ecosystem-based approach based on the creation and restoration of coastal ecosystems, such as wetlands (e.g. mangroves), biogenic reef structures (e.g. corals, oysters, and mussels), seagrass beds and dune vegetation can offer optimal natural alternatives to help solve coastal erosion. Coastal ecosystems have some capacity for self-repair and recovery, and can provide significant advantages over traditional hard engineering approaches against coastal erosion. Also, they play a vital role in reducing the susceptibility of coastal communities to hazards through their multiple roles in processes, including sediment capture, system roughness and thus attenuation of wave energy. This paper seeks to undertake a general review of adaptation and protection measures against coastal erosion issues, based on incorporation of ecology and ecosystem services into coastal erosion management strategies.

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