Beach Multi-Risk Assessment in the Costa Brava (Spain)

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

LOZOYA, J.P., SARDÁ, R and JIMÉNEZ, J.A., 2011. Beach Multi-Risk Assessment in the Coasta Brava (Spain). In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 408-414. Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208.

Beaches are complex social-ecological systems that provide several goods and services improving human well being. Both an excessive development of the Tourism industry and an increase of coastal hazards have been identified as important factors inducing coastal degradation and affecting the natural supply of these services. Nevertheless, traditional beach management has been concentrated on geomorphic hazards and beaches recreational uses, overlooking their broader functions. Risk analysis is recognized as a tool to assist decision making, helping managers to prioritize issues and focus efforts in the activities with the greatest potential impact. However, as beach management, traditional risk management overlooks beach environmental values, focusing on damages to assets and not considering the total risk in management. In response to the need to incorporate integrated and proactive tools which assist coastal managers, we apply a beach multi-risk assessment in S'Abanell beach (Spanish Mediterranean), in order to prioritize the most risky hazards and the most affected ecosystem services, helping the manager to decide where to allocate resources to cope with hazards affecting beach's functionality. Seven coastal hazards and five ecosystem services have been characterized. River floods and Coastal storms were the riskiest hazards, while Recreation & Aesthetic was the most affected ecosystem service in S'Abanell beach. Risk valuation has been obtained based on hazards intensities and the ecosystem services economic valuation. The inclusion of these non-market values in the risk assessment improves risk analysis, and should help managers to make more accurate decisions in an integrated beach management process.

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