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Origins, Management, and Measurement of Stress on the Coast of Southern Spain

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For political reasons Spain’s Costa del Sol had until recently presented a classic example of reactive coastal management. The 1988 Coasts Act introduced a more proactive approach, but its management still lacks a scientific classification of the coastline upon which to base coastal policy. Such an overgeneralized delineation of the coastal domain generally ignores the variations in physical and socioeconomic variables and is likely to lead to oversimplified management practices. Against the background of the policies adopted over the past 50 years, this article presents an index that delineates different degrees of sensitivity of the coastline of the Costa del Sol. A geographical information system (GIS) approach is adopted in the construction of the index that recognizes that coastal vulnerability is equally a function of physical processes and human activities. Four physical (lithology, landforms, river discharge, marine processes) and two anthropomorphic (population growth, urbanization) components are incorporated, and the results are applied to produce a broadly based measure for policy making in southern Spain that also has applicability in other coastal situations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Ulster 2: Universidad de Málaga

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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