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Identifying knowledge gaps hampering application of intertidal habitats in coastal protection: opportunities and steps to take


Bouma, TJ and van Belzen, J and Balke, T and Zhu, Z and Airoldi, L and Blight, AJ and Davies, AJ and Galvan, C and Hawkins, SJ and Hoggart, SPG and Lara, JL and Losada, IJ and Maza, M and Ondiviela, B and Skov, MW and Strain, EM and Thompson, RC and Yang, S and Zanuttigh, B and Zhang, L and Herman, PMJ, Identifying knowledge gaps hampering application of intertidal habitats in coastal protection: opportunities and steps to take, Coastal Engineering, 87 pp. 147-157. ISSN 0378-3839 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.coastaleng.2013.11.014


Over the last decades, population densities in coastal areas have strongly increased. At the same time, many intertidal coastal ecosystems that provide valuable services in terms of coastal protection have greatly degraded. As a result, coastal defense has become increasingly dependent on man-made engineering solutions. Ongoing climate change processes such as sea-level rise and increased storminess, require a rethinking of current coastal defense practices including the development of innovative and cost-effective ways to protect coastlines. Integrating intertidal coastal ecosystems within coastal defense schemes offers a promising way forward. In this perspective, we specifically aim to (1) provide insight in the conditions under which ecosystems may be valuable for coastal protection, (2) discuss which might be the most promising intertidal ecosystems for this task and (3) identify knowledge gaps that currently hamper application and hence need attention from the scientific community. Ecosystems can contribute most to coastal protection by wave attenuation in areas with relatively small tidal amplitudes, and/or where intertidal areas are wide. The main knowledge gap hampering application of intertidal ecosystems within coastal defense schemes is lack in ability to account quantitatively for long-term ecosystem dynamics. Such knowledge is essential, as this will determine both the predictability and reliability of their coastal defense function. Solutions integrating intertidal ecosystems in coastal defense schemes offer promising opportunities in some situations, but require better mechanistic understanding of ecosystem dynamics in space and time to enable successful large-scale application.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:coastal protection, intertidal ecosystems, ecology, salt marshes, biogenic reefs, seagrass
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Strain, EM (Dr Beth Strain)
ID Code:141415
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:197
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2020-10-19
Last Modified:2021-09-22

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