Can ecosystems protect Europe’s coastline?

Source: Science for Environment Policy

Nearly a third of the EU’s coastline has insufficient protection from erosion and flooding, according to recent research. The study presents a method for assessing coastal ecosystems’ capacity to provide vital protection from these threats, and highlights the need to protect key habitats which safeguard coastal resilience.

Despite the importance of ecosystems in providing coastal protection, planning authorities often neglect this natural capital, partly because it is difficult to map and assess such services. In this study, partly-funded under the EU PEGASO project, researchers provide a map of natural coastal protection across the EU’s entire coastline.

The researchers identified three key indicators to assess levels of natural coastal protection. The first is ‘capacity’, defined as the natural potential of an area to provide protection, excluding artificial structures. This includes factors such as geology and seabed habitats.

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