Interdisciplinary approach for sustainable land management of atoll islands

Kayanne et al. 2005

Atoll islands are low, flat land on atolls with a maximum elevation of one to two meters. They are under crisis of submergence due to rising sea levels in this century. The formation and maintenance of atoll island landforms are regulated not only by physical but also by ecological processes. The source of sand constituting the islands is calcifying organisms, and coral reefs on the ocean side of the islands act as a natural breakwater and provide bioclastic materials. Bleaching induced by global warming degrades the ecological process of island formation. Moreover, the traditional vegetation management system acts to stabilize landforms, but urbanization of atoll islands disrupted this human process, thereby increasing the vulnerability of these islands to environmental stresses. For sustainable utilization and development of atoll islands, it is fundamental to evaluate the interaction between natural and human processes
through interdisciplinary research among geomorphology, anthropology and coastal engineering. The ultimate goal of the research is to establish a diagnosis of the present status and future response of atoll islands to environmental changes, and to establish an ‘atoll island model’ to predict their landform changes in response to future sea levels. Another objective is to re-evaluate traditional human management systems of island landforms and vegetation in effective utilization of resources and land. Remote sensing and GIS would provide effective tools to extend the results obtained in model fields to other atoll islands in general.

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timestamp Wed, 10/20/2021 - 08:06