The main reasons for carrying out shoreline adaptation are to improve flood protection and restore or protect coastal habitats. The flood protection benefit is often the primary driver and one that needs to be informed by a strategic understanding of the shoreline's evolution and the effects sea level rise. The habitat motive is driven (sometimes legally) by the need to offset past, present and future losses of coastal habitat and biodiversity.
Most of the projects in this database have been pursued with both of these core motives in mind. However there are many other social and economic benefits which can be achieved from such work. These wider benefits or 'Ecosystem Services' (i.e. the benefits people derive from nature and its restoration) are increasingly being recognised and valued clarified.
Depending upon the scheme in questions, these extra benefits can include any or all of following:
- Job creation during the project's implementation (short-term) and management (long-term);
- Provision of public access and recreational area with associated public health and welfare benefits;
- Increased visitor numbers leading to economic gains for the region;
- Visual enhancement of the 'seascape';
- Enhancement of recreational and commercial fisheries;
- Provision of food and raw materials;
- Improvements to water quality;
- Sequestration of carbon (especially in coastal wetlands);
- The creation of resource for community involvement, engagement and education; and
- A location for further research.
Creating or restoring coastal habitats thus enables us to derive such benefits. This venn diagram shows the sustainability gains through habitat creation.