Coastal Ecology and Management
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Coastal landscapes are naturally dynamic, with sediments and ecosystems migrating landward in response to rising sea levels and storms. Forty-one percent of the global population lives on these shrinking lands and 77% of economic activity flows through them. Accordingly, people have sought to stabilize these eroding lands with engineered structures for socio-economic purposes. Yet, coastal stabilization projects inhibit the natural dynamism of the landscape, halting the long-term ecosystem services to society. Additionally, these projects often fail when extended beyond their designed lifetime, requiring additional economic investment to hold back the ocean.A major challenge for coastal scientists is to understand how to protect socio-economic interests against natural hazards, while also maintaining a sustainable and dynamic coastal ecosystem. Perhaps the greatest challenge that coastal managers and politicians face is how to balance the anthropogenic desire for short-term stability with long-term ecosystem sustainability.This project outcome will advance our fundamental understanding of how to manage and protect coasts. Work will aid in the direct and indirect restoration of damaged lands. It will also facilitate the coastal restoration and traditional engineering industries in the construction of new and sustainable landscapes. Strategies will be developed that help local, state, federal, international, non-profit, and private entities prevent erosion and reduce natural ecosystem and infrastructure losses to erosion, whether by sea level rise, hurricanes, or human alterations.