Potential roles for coastal protected areas in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation: a case study of dune management in Christchurch, New Zealand
Dunes provide a range of benefits for coastal hazard management. This includes protection from erosion, inundation, and storm surge events, and may include disaster risk reduction benefits in large magnitude events. However, New Zealand’s coastal dune ecosystems have become heavily modified in recent decades and the space available for dunes has become severely restricted in many areas. The restoration and protective management of indigenous dune ecosystems is now an urgent conservation issue. Since plant communities influence dune form and dynamics, the protection of dune biodiversity is important to their coastal hazard management role. The management of dunes as Protected Areas is now a common approach and can be especially important in locations where development and land use patterns have encroached on the space available for dunes, or where intensive management responses to other threats are required. There are now many examples of dune restoration projects at sites where former dunes had largely disappeared, or where the dune plant community has been impacted by invasive species. These projects provide opportunities to assess the potential for protected area management to deliver benefits for coastal hazard management within an integrated approach to coastal management. Additionally, forward planning for the adaptive management of coastlines is needed in the context of predicted sea level rise, and includes consideration of the values of protected areas and the future roles they may play. This case study presents results from an example of restorative dune management within the Christchurch Coastal Park network with a focus on the potential roles of these parks in disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.
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