Pacific Island Beaches: Values, Threats and Rehabilitation

  • Joanna C. EllisonEmail author
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 24)


Beaches have many values to Pacific island communities, for protection of the land from inundation, as well as community fishing, and tourism attractions. However, beach erosion is prevalent on many coasts, due to both natural and human causes. Coastal protection structures such as seawalls are expensive and can cause negative impacts, such as erosion to adjacent coastlines. Ecosystem-based adaptation integrates biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, and engages natural ecosystem processes to provide alternative low-cost solutions to beach erosion. Adapting well-known dune rehabilitation techniques to narrow Pacific island beaches, beach ecosystem-based adaptation techniques include beach access control fencing and gateways, and tree, shrub and ground vine planting. Defined access pathways allow people to access the beach, and facilitate natural recovery of trampled vegetation. These beach management tools are in combination with local community capacity building, and engagement in maintenance and monitoring, which fosters reduction of impacts. Communities use locally available materials, and traditional expertise in the uses of matting and fencing. Use of beach ecosystem-based adaptation can increase the resilience of beaches to climate change and climate variability, and provide alternative soft-engineering approaches that are both low cost and can be effectively applied by local communities.


Littoral flora Sand sources Erosion Replanting Access control Herbs, shrubs, vines 



This research was supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program project: Implementation of Coastal Ecosystem based Adaptation to Climate Change in Kiribati, funded by Australian Aid through its International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. Michael Helman of Visual Science Communication, Hobart, created Figs. 34.6, 34.8 and 34.10. The author is grateful to the Kiribati Government Environment and Conservation Division for facilitating the trials.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, School of Land and FoodUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia

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