Cycles of storm destruction and rebuilding of human facilities are as much a part of a predictable cycle of shoreline change as destruction and re-establishment of landforms and wildlife habitat by natural processes. An evaluation of the human-induced and natural geomorphic responses to three storms in two vulnerable developed areas in New Jersey reveals that storms can have limited effect in re-establishing a natural coastal resource base of lasting significance. Reconstruction of coastal landscapes by human action may be more rapid than natural restoration, decreasing the likelihood for geomorphic features to develop based on natural processes. Reliance on storm processes to create new natural habitat in locations where there is human investment in buildings and support infrastructure is not realistic unless a proactive stance is taken to include naturally-functioning characteristics of the coastal system in reconstruction efforts. By striving to control construction of shorefront buildings to reduce their potential for damage, managers may be taking attention away from the separate but critical issue of ensuring that post-storm reconstruction effort include the potential for replacing loss of natural geomorphic features and wildlife habitat.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Barrier island