What effect does Human Activity have on Coastal Landforms

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What effects does Human Activity have on Coastal Landforms

Human activities add another layer of complexity to the natural processes of coastal lands and materials. These activities may have direct or indirect effects on our changing coastlines. They may effect sources of new sediment to the coast and the movement of sediment within the coastal environment.

Sediment starvation caused by river and coastal management is one effect of human activities on the coast. For some coastal regions, such as the Pacific coast, a large part of their sediment is supplied by rivers. Dams built for flood control and water catchment along the rivers leading to these coasts inhibit the transport of large grained sediment, The coasts lack new material so erode and move inland. For instance damming of the tributary rivers to the Mississippi River over the past 60 years has reduced the movement of sediment. Studies in recent years have demonstrated that the amount of sediment carried by the Mississippi has been cut in half, aggravating the deterioration of Louisiana's wetlands. An important source of sediment to Louisiana's delta wetlands was periodic flooding of the Mississippi River, which deposits new material on the flood plain. Massive levees built along the river bans now contain these floods and eliminate the supply of sediment to the wetlands. As a results, the natural compaction and subsidence of the delta are no longer balanced by the deposition of new sediments, and the local relative sea level is rising as much as 1cm per year.

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Human actions can also lead to the destruction of dune grasses and the disturbance of coastal landforms promotes increased erosion and movement of beach materials. Human leisure activities such as rambling, horseracing and using off road vehicles on sand dunes, compact the sand, destroying plant roots and animal burrows. This leaves the sand dunes more susceptible to erosion causing blowouts and disrupting the succession of vegetation in the area. This has been a problem at Studland Bay in Dorset on the south coast of England. Persistent human leisure activities on the dunes has led to substantial erosion in some parts ...

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