Natural Hazards

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 427–444 | Cite as

The Azores archipelago, Portugal: improved understanding of small island coastal hazards and mitigation measures

  • H. Calado
  • P. Borges
  • M. Phillips
  • K. Ng
  • F. Alves
Original Paper


Coastal zones are vital to small islands due to limited land availability and ocean exposure. Their significance and resident dependence result in a need to address unique small island coastal zone concerns. Recent population concentrations and increased economic activity along with accompanying lucrative coastal development are posing significant threats to human and natural system well-being. Potential environmental hazards therefore play an important role in coastal vulnerability and risk assessment, and it is only by understanding causes and consequences that policy makers, along with scientists and the public, can establish appropriate mitigation measures. This paper addresses the lack of specific small island studies, including their unique circumstances. Coastal hazards are assessed and effective mitigation strategies suggested. A case study of the Azores archipelago highlights specific coastal hazards and demonstrates the importance of public participation when implementing mitigation measures. Furthermore, the inclusion of an external neutral and unbiased coastal management expert within the public participation process facilitated successful development of Azorean Coastal Zone Management Plans.


Adaptation measures Vulnerability Public participation 



The authors would like to thank the Geography section and Geosciences department of the University of the Azores for their help and support. We would also like to thank the Research Centre in Volcanology and Geological Risk Assessment (CVARG) and all team members of LITOSOST. Furthermore, we are grateful to anonymous reviewers for their suggestions, which have improved the impact of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Calado
    • 1
  • P. Borges
    • 2
  • M. Phillips
    • 3
  • K. Ng
    • 1
  • F. Alves
    • 4
  1. 1.CIBO—Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetics Resources, Department of Biology/Geography SectionUniversity of AzoresPonta DelgadaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of the AzoresPonta DelgadaPortugal
  3. 3.School of Natural and Built EnvironmentSwansea Metropolitan UniversityMount Pleasant, SwanseaUK
  4. 4.CESAM—Research Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of Environment and PlanningUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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