coastal areas are becoming more popular and more under pressure
than at any time in the past. We are in danger, as many have
said, of 'loving the coast to death'. This situation is true
of most places but must be especially true of Australia with
60% of the population with close access to beaches, some word
famous areas e.g. Great Barrier Reef, and some famous tourist
spots (Bondi beach comes to mind). However, with such fame there
comes a price and these areas both need studying and protecting.
Aiming to do both, the authors have considerable experience
in coastal processes and have probably visited most beaches,
reefs and cliffs along the 30,000+km coastline. Because there
are so many diverse geographical and ecological aspects, this
book could be seen to be a microcosm of all coastal areas.
start with an introduction that defines coasts, outlines their
geology, sea level changes (coastal locations), coastal sediments
and transport. Now that the reader is up to speed, remaining
chapters examine specific areas of coastal aspects. First up
are coastal processes which starts, unusually, with a look at
the main weather and climate patterns. This then leads us into
the more detailed studies of waves, tides and currents. The
chapter stops at this: resulting landforms one would normally
expect to find come later. Chapter three highlights the key
coastal ecosystems. With everything from tropical to temperate
you can expect a fast tour through the main systems: marsh,
mangrove, seagrass, reef and sandy and rocky beaches. Chapter
four goes into deltas and estuaries. We might not be too strong
on deltas but a range of wave and tide dominated waterways are
outlined. For each one there's discussion on geography/geology
and ecology. To complete the work there's a brief overview of
estuaries by state. Chapter five looks at beaches in all their
variety. The reader looks at beach classification, landform
features and key currents of which the rip is by far the most
widely discussed. For readers unfamiliar with the area, rips
often create serious issues for swimmers (and lifeguards) and
so are key beach safety features (one of the authors started
his academic work looking at just such issues). Given this it's
not surprising that this is, just, the longest chapter. Chapter
six studies dunes and barriers. Dunes are particularly common
in Australia and provide easy access to the beach. for that
reason alone they are fragile and by describing the main dune
and barrier types we can see why this is. as with other chapter,
it finishes with a roundup of dunes in the coastal states. Chapter
seven turns to rocky coasts. A brief outline of the main rock
groups turns to consideration of coastal processes and the resultant
landforms. Coral reefs are an Australian iconic vision and the
Greet Barrier Reef is one of the most spectacular. However,
there are many others and this chapter outlines their formation,
landforms and stressors. Chapter nine considers the biggest
impact on the coast - people - and shows what they are doing
and how it can be managed. There's a final section looking at
global warming which is a big issue right now because of the
controversy over how this can best be managed.
is an excellent book. It gives just the right level of information
on all issues so it covers aspects many other texts leave out.
In many ways this is the perfect introduction to coastal study
and can be used/adapted to most of the world's coastal areas.
what will sell it to beginner readers is the high quality of
illustration. There are numerous colour photos making it almost
like a small coffee-table book but with decent information.
Presentation is absolutely top notch: it would tempt the most
jaded reader - it's almost like a tourist brochure but for students.
Anyone with an interest in coasts will get something out of
this book. Definitely one for the library.