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The effect of sea-level rise on coastal geomorphology

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Sustainable management of coastal resources requires that future generations of people and wildlife enjoy an ongoing and equitable level of environmental quality ( Crooks & Turner 1999). The UK coast is, however, difficult to manage, being inhabited by a population with assets entrenched behind old flood defences and under threat from the combined risks of flooding and habitat change associated with rising sea-levels. Adopting a static policy approach towards sea-level rise conflicts with sustaining a dynamic coastal system that responds to perturbations via sediment movement and long-term evolution. At many locations maintaining a resilient coast demands the availability of space and sediments, but both are in short supply. Future management should incorporate adaptive measures, including strategic large-scale coastal floodplain reactivation, to support a resilient geomorphic response to sea-level rise. Management decisions will have major implications for coastal waterbirds.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 01 September 2004

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