Long-term beach and coastal dune dynamics in response to natural and human-made factors.

M Louisa Martinez, Rosario Landgrave, Rodolfo Silva, Patrick Hesp

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This study took place in Playa Chachalacas, located in the central region of the Gulf of Mexico. The goal of this study was to understand the long-term consequences of modifying sediment dynamics through the combined effect of dune stabilization and the construction of breakwaters for shoreline protection. With aerial images from different years, the following items were analyzed: (a) stabilization of the mobile dune; (b) shoreline dynamics and changes at the river mouth, located down-drift from the dunefield; and (c) urbanization along the shoreline. Data show that the cover of grasses and shrubs increased rapidly. In some points, there was intense erosion along the shoreline and accretion in others. The breakwaters promoted accretion but exacerbated erosion down-drift, with notable changes in the inlet. Finally, urbanization has occurred at a fast rate, and mostly parallel to the shoreline. The results indicate that different factors affect sediment dynamics: (a) warm and wet climate promoted vegetation growth and sediment stabilization; (b) the breakwaters solved the erosion problem locally, but generated intense erosion down-drift; and (c) urbanization along the coast resulted in ecosystem loss and increased risks to flooding. Indeed, management and development plans for coastal environments need to consider the dynamic nature of the coastline.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWater Perspectives in Emerging Countries
Subtitle of host publicationIntegrating Ecosystems in Coastal Engineering Practice. Proceedings of the Summer School September 18-30, 2017 – Puerto Morelos, Mexico
EditorsRodolfo Silva, Valeria Chavez
PublisherCuvillier Verlag, Germany
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783736986619
ISBN (Print)9783736996618
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2017
EventThe Summer School on Integrating Ecosystems in Coastal Engineering Practice: Water Perspectives in Emerging Countries - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México , Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Duration: 18 Sep 201730 Sep 2017


ConferenceThe Summer School on Integrating Ecosystems in Coastal Engineering Practice
CityPuerto Morelos
Internet address


  • Breakwaters
  • Coastal Dunes
  • Mexico
  • Mobile Dune Stabilization
  • Urbanization


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