Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 31–52 | Cite as

Implications of sea level rise for coastal dune habitat conservation in Wales, UK

Article

Abstract

The potential impact of future sea level rise and climate change on 15 Welsh coastal dune systems has been investigated. Historical Trend Analysis was undertaken using Ordnance Survey maps to quantify past shoreline change and to permit extrapolation of past trends to predict possible future shoreline positions by 2080–2100. Predictions were also made using the Bruun Rule relationship between sea level rise and shoreline response and an integrated method of assessment, Expert Geomorphological Assessment (EGA), which provides a ‘best estimate’ of future coastline change, taking into account such factors as geological constraints, the nature of past, present and future environmental forcing factors, and known coastal process–response relationships. The majority of the 15 systems investigated experienced a net increase in dune area over the last 100–120 years. Only one (Whiteford Burrows) experienced significant net area loss (>5 ha). EGA predictions suggest that several systems are likely to experience significant net loss of dune habitat over the next century, whilst continued net gain is likely to occur for systems where sediment supply rates remain high. Little net change is predicted in some systems. Considering the 15 dune systems together, it is considered unlikely that net dune habitat loss will exceed net gain over the next 100 years provided that there are no major disruptions to sediment supply and natural coastal processes.

Keywords

Bruun rule Climate change Historical trend analysis SAC Expert geomorphological assessment Coastal dunes Sea level change 

Abbreviations

CD

Chart datum

DP

Drift potential

EGA

Expert geomorphological assessment

FCE

Future change extrapolation

HAT

Highest astronomical tide

HTA

Historical trend analysis

MHW

Mean high water

MHWS

Mean high water spring

MLW

Mean low water

NNR

National nature reserve

cSAC

Candidate special area of conservation

SPA

Special protection area

SSSI

Sites of special scientific interest

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Crowthorne Enterprise CentreKenneth Pye Associates LtdCrowthorne, BerkshireUK

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