The Effects of Human Activity on Coastal Landforms

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The Effects of Human Activity 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
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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 of these dunes which has meant that Management programs have had to been introduced by English Nature.

Sand dunes help absorb the pounding of high waves and reduce overwash flooding in storms. It has become common for sand dunes to be bulldozed to improve the views to the sea. However this destroys the natural protection of the coast.

Human activities such as water transport also can cause problems for coastal areas. The dredging of navigation channels and the discharging of the material in deep water to enable larger ships to travel though water channels removes sediment from the coastal system leaving the area susceptible to erosion and will also interfere with longshore drift which will prevent the coastal beach landforms from being maintained such as the development of a spit. It is likely that a spit will be eroded and start to regress in conditions such as these. An example is Spurn head Spit. Spurn head is lcated, on the humber Estuary in North East England. The growth