Socio-Environment Analysis as a Tool for Coastal Management: the Case of Maraú Peninsula, Bahia, Brazil

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Abstract

DE SOUZA FILHO, J.R., SILVA, I.R and FERREIRA, D.F., 2011. Socio-Environment Analysis as a Tool for Coastal Management: the Case of Maraú Peninsula, Bahia, Brazil. In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 446-451. Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208.

The state of Bahia has the largest coastal extension among all Brazilian states. This extension includes some of the most desirable tourist destinations within the country. The local preference is directed to the model “sun, sand and sea.” The Marau Peninsula represents one of the most important drivers of economic development in the region. The intensification of activities on the beaches of Maraú results in the increase of tourist flow, real estate development and the establishment of support infrastructure resulting in increasing pressure on local ecosystems. After assessing the degree of anthropogenic changes in this coastal extension, the northern portion stands out as the most impacted area. This includes the beaches of Taipus de Fora, and Três Coqueiros e Ponta do Mutá. Recreational capacity assessment of these beaches indicates that Taipus de Fora holds more than 2,000 users in its peak time. This represents, respectively, over 6.5 and 12 times the number assessed for Três Coqueiros e Ponta do Mutá beaches. However, it is important to point out that Taipus de Fora offers greater beach length and width, around twice the area (6.34 m2) to its users. During interviews conducted in the area, 80% of users reported feeling comfortable with a medium or low occupation of the beach. The survey also indicated that “infrastructure of goods and services” is an important variable in this occupation model. Around 42% of users surveyed consider the presence of support infrastructure an important decision variable. Only 16% of users responded that these facilities were not desirable. Results indicate that available recreational area and support infrastructure on the beach are important components for attracting tourists. Therefore, it is important to maintain current conditions of use (occupation density) in order to preserve the quality and recreational attractiveness. This will also help in the preservation of costal ecosystems, including coral reefs.

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