Coastal systems are characterized by high geophysical and biophysical sensitivity as being their massive occupation a serious issue concerning their self-regulation. Worldwide coastal areas are exposed to problems such as coastal erosion, degradation and destruction of marine habitats, pollution and rising sea level. Thus, it is crucial to design models of coastal vulnerability assessment to ensure a better management of coastal areas. This study characterizes the vulnerability of the coastal stretch between the beaches of Porto de Mós and Falésia in the Algarve, corresponding to 52 km of the south coast of Portugal. The expansion of urban areas was modelled using a Cellular Automata (CA) based approach. Results show that 65% of the coastal stretch has high and very high vulnerability caused by both physical and human factors. Results further indicate that urban growth may interfere with the natural evolution of the coastal geomorphology. The scenario of urban expansion for the year 2015 highlights the need to develop effective urban planning processes to ensure a correct balance between the geophysical resilience of coastal systems and the promotion of the coastal sector as a strategic asset for the regional and national economy.
- Cellular Automata
- Coastal Erosion
- Coastal Systems, Coastal Vulnerability