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Coastal and soil erosion in the Mediterranean

Coastal erosion is one of the most important socio-economical problems that challenge the capabilities of states and local authorities. The problem of erosion may extend its influence hundreds of kilometres alongshore in the case of large deltaic areas, and may have transboundary implications. In the case of pocket beaches on the other hand, it could be a very local phenomenon affecting only the residents of a nearby town and/or the tourism industry.

In the Mediterranean, coastal erosion has been a longstanding, large-scale issue around the deltaic areas, such as the deltas of the Nile and Po Rivers, and the smaller deltas like those of the Albanian rivers. It has also been a major issue at smaller scales, especially in the municipal or tourist resort beaches along the relatively more densely developed northern coast, following the flux of people from inland areas to the coast and the boom of the tourism industry.

Mediterranean landscape is the result of long and intense interactions between human activities and natural environment. The soil is the essential component interfacing these relationships, and consequently has become deeply affected. Soil erosion is severe in the Mediterranean Basin, and particularly intense in long sectors of its coastal areas. The extent of the phenomena is difficult to assess, nevertheless this point has been subject of attention, mainly at the national level.

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