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Development of Beach Analysis Tools for Caribbean Small Islands

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Beach erosion presents a hazard to coastal tourism facilities, which provide the main economic thrust for most Caribbean small islands (CSIs). Ad hoc approaches to addressing this problem have given way to the integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) approach, which recommends data collection, analysis of coastal processes, and assessment of impacts. UNESCO's Coast and Beach Stability in the Caribbean (COSALC) project has provided most CSIs with an opportunity to monitor their beaches and collect over 10 years of data. Research has been directed at integrating these data with geographic information systems (GIS) and other information technologies to develop a prototype beach analysis and management system (BAMS) for CSIs. This article presents the results of phase I development of this effort, which includes the development of tools for integrating spatial and non-spatial coastal data, estimating long-term beach erosion/accretion and sand volume change trends at individual beaches, identifying erosion-sensitive beaches, and mapping beach erosion hazards. The Southeast Peninsula, St. Kitts, is used as a case study to develop these tools and demonstrate system functionality.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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