Toward a multifunctional nature-based coastal defense: a review of the interaction between beach nourishment and ecological restoration

Theodor Kindeberg, Björn Almström, Mona Ohlsson Skoog, Pål Axel Olsson, Johan Hollander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coastal protection has evolved from focusing on hard solutions such as breakwaters and groynes to include soft or nature-based solutions (NbS). NbS have been pro- posed as cost-effective means to offer long-term coastal protection and at the same time strengthen coastal resilience and biodiversity. However, projects utilizing NbS for coastal protection have often focused on a single solution and the evidence of improved biodiversity remain equivocal.
In this paper, we review solutions traditionally used for disparate purposes – namely beach nourishment and the establishment of vascular plants such as seagrass and dune grass. The main incentives behind large-scale beach nourishment projects are often the cost-effectiveness, multifunctionality and dynamic shoreline protection whereas the focus of vegetation restoration has typically been on recreating important habitats and not specifically as a coastal protection measure. Based on previous studies and an on-going large-scale coastal adaptation project in southern Sweden, we investigate the feasibility of combining these seemingly dichotomous management strategies to yield a viable physical defense and at the same time strengthen coastal biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality. Given the urgency in combatting biodiversity loss and adapting to a changing climate, management interventions for coastal protection should explicitly incorporate ecological values into every coastal protection measure and seek innovative, integrated approaches that consider both geomorphological and ecological values and the possible complementarity between the two.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere03751
Number of pages14
JournalNordic Journal of Botany
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
  • Ecology

Free keywords

  • climate change adaptation
  • coastal erosion
  • ecological impact
  • multifunctionality
  • nature-based solution
  • sediment


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