The mediterranean coast of Andalusia (sw spain): the impacts of human coastal structures

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Spanish coasts, especially the Andalusia Mediterranean one, were affected over time by progressive urbanizationand associated construction of defense structures. Such structures protected small coastal sectors but at placestriggered processes of coastal erosion and associated degradation of habitats and ecosystems. A correct managementof coastal areas must be based on the monitoring of coastal evolution and human pressure. A useful tool toevaluate the level of human anthropization is the estimation of the "Coastal Armouring", e.g. the quantification ofcoastal defense structures, infrastructures, ports, etc.In this study, available aerial photographs and satellite images from 1956 to 2011 were scanned and geo-referencedand used for the quantitative assessment of coastal human constructions impact on the studied coastal area. The socalled coefficient of technogenous impact (K) was used. It results from the relationship between the total lengthof all maritime structures (groins, moles, seawalls, dikes, channels, etc.) and the entire length of the study coastalsection. For this purpose, the Andalusia coast, about 500 km in length, was divided into sections of 1 km. For eachone of such sections the technogenous impact was calculated in the 1956 and 2011 documents.The analysis showed that the degree of anthropization in some areas (for example the Port of Montril) hasincreased considerably, triggering degradation processes in the nearby coastal areas. Results also evidenced as, inmany cases, greatest human impacts are linked to the progressive construction of coastal defense.The lack of a general strategy to combat the erosion problem and the urgency in the short term to protect specificparts of the coast led to a reactive approach based initially in the construction of hard structures. Such interventionslocally solved erosion problems but gave rise to drowndrift erosion according to the “domino” effect. A moregeneral management plan is needed, essentially based on the by-pass of ports and harbors and beach nourishmentworks.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015


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