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Coastal habitats provide the link between the land and the sea. They are dynamic, combine to form ecosystems of great complexity and provide significant areas for wildlife. Their landscapes are treasured by visitors, painters and musicians. They also provide locations for significant economic activity and are intimately bound up with fisheries, providing food and shelter for some species of commercially exploited fish stocks. The habitats themselves provide a buffer to tides and wave action, which may be particularly important in areas where relative sea level is rising and during storm periods. Managing these assets in the face of continuing pressure from human populations on a sustainable basis is a major task.
This book series will look at each of the main coastal habitats - saltmarshes, sand dunes and sand/shingle shores, modified coastal grazing marshes/salinas and sea cliffs in turn. Each habitat will be described in relation to its natural development and the way this has been influenced by human actions. The different states in which the habitats exist will be reviewed against the pressures exerted upon them. Options for management will be considered and the likely consequences of taking a particular course of action will be highlighted. These options will include the traditional approaches to management (for the conservation of wildlife and landscapes) as well as habitat restoration. The way the value of the areas change under different management regimes will be considered from both a socio-economic and environmental perspective.