A beach profile monitoring programme was initiated in 1997 as a contribution to the development of recommendations for an integrated coastal zone management scheme of the mangrove peninsula of Bragança, State of Pará (North Brazil). It was the first scientific investigation on the coastal morphodynamics in a mangrove environment, which was opened for human use only since the mid-1970s. The observations were carried out on five sections for 4 years, on a fortnightly basis whenever possible. Temporal evolution of the beach morphology was assessed using time series of beach height, changes in profile shape, sediment transport calculations, and photographs. This unique data set for new settlement areas in this mangrove-dominated coastal zone illuminates the role of the interaction between human activities and natural coastal dynamics. Four coastal cells were identified as coastal management units, each with specific dynamic behaviour and utilisation by humans. The cells are rather small with dimensions in the order of 1–3 km. Only one of the units (cell 1) had a stable coastline during the 4 years of observation, while all others are eroding. Clearing of vegetation is the principal reason for the enhancement of the natural chronic erosion at these sites. In the wake of increasing tourism, housing was erected on the first dune ridge (cell 2) with much damage to the natural vegetation. In this unit, erosion is predominantly targeted on the dunes. In cell 3, the most important reason for the increased erosion is clearing of the adjacent fringing mangroves. This is also true for cell 4, but additionally the construction of large fishing traps, which artificially entrap sand and create sandbanks and thereby increase velocities in the tidal channel tend to enhance erosion at the shoreline. Only for cell 1 can protection measures for the still available vegetation be recommended while a planned retreat of many tourism facilities and fishermen's housings should be included in management recommendations.
AWI Organizations > Knowledge and Technology Transfer > Earth System Knowledge and Platform