Shoreline Hardening (regional)

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Social and ecological factors influencing shoreline hardening in the Northeast: implications for vulnerability, resilience and informed decision making

Jonathan Grabowski, Associate Professor of Marine and Environmental Science, Northeastern University (781.581.7370) and Matthias Ruth, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University (617.373.7938)

Coastal populations are growing, which is adding to the mounting strain on coastal ecosystems. This trend is particularly problematic given that habitats naturally distributed in coastal ecosystems contribute a disproportionately large array of highly valuable ecosystem services. Grabowski and his colleagues will work to identify whether human vulnerability in coastal populations is tied to shoreline development and the integrity of coastal and marine habitats.

The researchers will also seek to: identify the degree to which social capital, environmental connectedness, and adaptive capacity in coastal communities is linked to human and ecological resilience; provide managers with insights regarding the degree to which shoreline armoring influences perceptions of and acceptance of ocean-based wind energy development; and assess the efficacy of coastal policy at protecting shorelines and reducing human vulnerability in order to reveal which coastal shoreline policies should be implemented versus those that are less successful.