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Increasing the dynamism of coastal landforms by modifying shore protection methods: examples from the eastern German Baltic Sea Coast

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2007

Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Institute of Geography and Geology, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University Greifswald, D-17487, Griefswald, Germany
Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark NJ 07102, USA
*Correspondence: Professor Karl F. Nordstrom Tel: +1 732 932 6555 ext. 502 Fax: +1 732 932 8578 e-mail:


Redesign of shore protection projects in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany) is allowing landforms to become more dynamic after centuries of employing structures to increase stability. Current policies are designed to maintain sediment transfers, re-establish wetlands, ensure zero net loss of coastal habitat and apply the user-pays principle for restoring damaged habitat. Projects that achieve new nature-oriented goals include (1) relocating dykes landward or allowing dykes or protective dunes to erode to expose more land to episodic inundation by the sea; (2) reinstating sediment transfers from bluffs to adjacent low-lying shores; (3) increasing sediment transport rates through groyne fields; and (4) removing exotic vegetation from dunes. These actions create new habitat, add portions of the coast to the public domain, and provide a wider buffer against accelerated sea-level rise for developed lands further inland. The management actions have been relatively small in scale, applied where there has been little threat to human facilities and done to achieve specific environmental goals, but they provide examples of workable options to increase the dynamism of stabilized landforms on other exposed coasts. The need to restore natural functions while providing some stability places emphasis on a strategy of controlling dynamism rather than preventing it.

Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2007

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