On September 2, 2016, the Hawaii Shore and Beach Preservation hosted a workshop entitled “Living shorelines on Tropical Islands: Creating and maintaining healthy coastal systems and improving community resilience in the face of climate change” at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii. The workshop was designed for interested community leaders, planners, managers and decision makers within local communities and those interested in learning about Living Shorelines in the context of the tropical islands around the globe.
“Living Shorelines” integrate habitat restoration techniques, coastal engineering, and conservation to mitigate coastal hazards through the incorporation of natural elements. Effectively implemented, they create ecologically robust coastal environments that also serve as dynamic buffer zones, absorbing wave action and storm surge and reducing impacts to coastal infrastructure. Living Shorelines have been used effectively in the US along the eastern, western and gulf coasts as an effective alternative to traditional shoreline armoring. However, in tropical island settings living shorelines will look and function differently to address unique physical, social and economic implications to shoreline communities in the face of climate change.
On low-lying coastal plains of tropical islands, climate change and sea level rise will likely increase coastal erosion and flooding, change ocean chemistry, affect reef ecology and coastal watershed hydrology, and pose substantial threats to sensitive island coastal environments. With limited land resources to support growing human populations along the coast, flora and fauna in tropical island settings are often already under pressure from local development. Traditional shoreline hardening such as seawalls, revetments, breakwaters, and groins have often proved effective at protecting coastlines – however this comes at a price, often leading to the total loss of sensitive intertidal habitat.
This workshop introduced and discussed the implementation of Living Shoreline concepts in tropical island settings through a review of selected case studies from around the globe. This exchange of ideas and lessons learned helped to identify ways in which natural elements can be incorporated into coastal protection and shoreline management schemes. Hands-on exercises involving different island configurations, settings, and site-specific challenges were used to foster new ideas and identify information gaps through attendant participation. Facilitators promoted discussion and interaction between presenters and workshop attendees.
The goals of this workshop were to have participants:
For more information about the workshop, please visit https://portals.iucn.org/congress/session/9649.