Stream 3: People and management

Coastal challenges for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
  • Judith Wolf1, Lucy Bricheno1, Eric Wolanski2 and Deborah Villaroel-Lamb3
  • 1National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • 2James Cook University, Australia
  • 3University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

Small island states, many of which are low-income countries, are critically dependent on the health of their beaches and coastal ecosystems for tourism, coastal fisheries and agriculture. Coastal flooding, erosion and pollution are some of the challenges that they face. These challenges are difficult to overcome in a thorough and sustained manner due to a lack of scientific data and other types of resources, that can guide and support comprehensive management strategies for the coast. Increasing sea level is a key problem, which can cause coastal inundation and lead to greater wave impact at the coast where many assets are located. Changes in land-use and soil erosion can exacerbate damage to coral reefs from global warming. Destruction of reefs increases the extent to which ocean waves penetrate to the beach; and as the corals cease to provide calcareous sediment to nourish the beaches, this leads to further feedback effects on seagrass and fisheries. The limited availability of data and other resources warrant the proposal of generic solutions: regional collaboration, modelling and data sharing activities will efficiently build a much-needed science base.

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