, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 304-315
Date: 15 Jun 2006

Impact of 100-Year Human Interventions on the Deltaic Coastal Zone of the Inner Thermaikos Gulf (Greece): A DPSIR Framework Analysis

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Abstract

The Axios River delta and the Inner Thermaikos Gulf coastal zone have experienced a long period of human interventions during the past 100 years. A post-evaluation of long run coastal zone changes under the Drivers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Response (DPSIR) conceptual framework is presented. The DPSIR approach is then used to project out into possible futures in order to connect with policy and management options proposed for the improvement of the current conditions and the achievement of sustainable development, in the coastal zone. Socio-economic driving forces with their origins in the end of the 19th century have generated numerous pressures in the coastal environment that changed the state of the environment. In the first part of the last century, there was no coupling between change of state and policy. Due to increasing environmental awareness, a coupling became more apparent over the last thirty years. Human interventions include river route realignment, extensive drainage of the plains, irrigation network, roads and dam constructions. The consequences were positive for the economic development of the area, human health, and navigation for the port of Thessaloniki. In contrast, the manipulation and over-use of natural resources has led to a reduction of wetlands, biodiversity loss, stress on freshwater supplies, and subsidence of coastal areas, aquifer salinization, and rapid coastal erosion. Three plausible future scenarios are utilised in order to investigate the implications of this environmental change process and possible socio-economic consequences.