Summary:Erosion and human activities challenge beach ecosystems, say researchers. A new article explains how damage to the coastline can be corrected.
Taking care of beaches benefits more than summer play. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) July 15 Soils Matter blog post explains how damage to the coastline — by natural or human-made events — can be corrected.
“Beach ecosystems respond to negative forces in many ways,” says Mary Tiedeman, soil scientist. “Human development and severe storms often result in erosion and habitat loss. Various types of pollution include water acidification, water temperature rise, oil spills, sewage leaks, and sedimentation. These can cause loss of plant and animal life. Even over fishing, which may only directly effect a few animal species, has the potential to disrupt the balance of an entire ecosystem.”
Efforts continue to restore and protect beaches. “With all restoration projects, understanding the local soils is tremendously useful. Through research, scientists gain insights into how coastal soils function and how vulnerable they are to disturbances. Studying soils also helps scientists learn about the types of plant life that individual soils can support,” Tiedeman says.