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Coastal populations worldwide under threat
Our coasts and estuaries worldwide are being threatened by a ‘triple whammy’ of increased urbanisation and industrialisation, decreased availability of energy and other resources such as freshwater, and increased threats due to climate change. A major new book, Coasts and Estuaries has been published in which 154 world-renowned scientists from 27 countries describe these threats to human societies.
The book of almost 800 pages covers all parts of the globe and is edited by Professor Eric Wolanski (James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia) together with Professors John W. Day (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA), Mike Elliott (University of Hull, United Kingdom) and Ramesh Ramachandran (National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chennai, India).
The book uses many chapters and case studies to illustrate and emphasise the direction for society to help solve these problems (see below image for study sites). This shows that we need to protect the natural ecosystem while also allowing these coasts and estuaries to deliver services which produce goods and benefits for society.
We have all seen the disastrous consequences of removing the natural coastal features such as mangroves which then decreases the protection of the coast from events such as storm surges and tsunamis. In turn, it is the urban poor populations along the coasts that are being affected the most by these problems, especially increased sea-levels and storminess.
Despite showing that coastal areas in poorer areas will be most hit by these problems, they also apply to even the wealthiest countries. For example, climate changes will destroy communities in low-lying Bangladesh as well as in the southern US.
As around 40% of the world’s population lives on coasts, deltas, estuaries and lagoons, the authors were asked to catalogue the problems but also look for solutions that will be required over the coming centuries.
This book gives a wake-up call to policy-makers and politicians who say they want a sustainable future which benefits the human safety, economy and nature. They now need to make sure that we can achieve sustainable solutions.
For a limited time, you can view Chapter 1: A Synthesis: What Is the Future for Coasts, Estuaries, Deltas and Other Transitional Habitats in 2050 and Beyond? On ScienceDirect.
Need a print copy? Order via the Elsevier store and enter STC319 at the checkout to save up to 30%
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