ABSTRACT

Guisado-Pintado, E.; Navas, F., and Malvárez, G., 2016. Ecosystem Services and Their Benefits as Coastal Protection in Highly Urbanised Environments. In: Vila-Concejo, A.; Bruce, E.; Kennedy, D.M., and McCarroll, R.J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Coastal Symposium (Sydney, Australia). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 75, pp. 1097 - 1101. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

Coastal hazards from hydro-meteorological events such as flooding, shoreline erosion, storm surges and sea level rise, have been widely studied not least because they can have significant impacts on human activities and assets, adversely affecting the economy, well-being and safety of coastal communities. Coastal hazards are a major concern for local populations and authorities and recently European Union Directives and Horizon 2020 strategies have focussed on building a common framework to manage those events, to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce it. As a result, the quantification and evaluation of ecosystem services provided by coastal systems for human populations have begun to be incorporated into policy and decision-making processes in order to preserve both ecosystems and the benefits these offer. Notwithstanding the considerable progress that has been made in recent years, successful delivery of indicators to evaluate and map the Coastal Protection ecosystem service at adequate spatial scale is still uncommon. In this paper existing indicators at a European scale for Coastal Protection service (capacity, flow and benefit) are adapted and applied to a coastal area in southern Spain where urban and tourism activities are the main drivers whilst coastal exposure to hazards is increasing. Results highlight the importance of scale and resolution when approaching coastal systems and the importance of using accurate and local-regional sets of data. Further, the need to understand the spatial and temporal variability of the Coastal Protection service and the non-linearity response is shown to be essential when developing coastal and marine management strategies.

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