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Regional State of the Coast Report

Western Indian Ocean

image of Regional State of the Coast Report

The Regional State of Coast Report for the western Indian Ocean (WIO) is the first comprehensive regional synthesis to provide insights into the enormous economic potential around the WIO, the consequential demand for marine ecosystem goods and services to match the increasing human population, the pace and scale of environmental changes taking place in the region and the opportunities to avoid serious degradation in one of the world’s unique and highly biodiverse oceans.

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Beaches and the nearshore

The nearshore environment is generally defined as the area encompassing the transition from sub-tidal marine habitats to associated upland systems. For the purpose of this report, we define the area as that which includes habitats within the land-sea interface, extending to shallow sub-tidal waters (~2 m depth). Strong interactions occur between the marine environment and upland habitats within this interface. For example, a variety of vegetation provides bank stability, shades the upper intertidal zone and provides terrestrial input (eg woody debris as a fish refuge) to the nearshore marine ecosystem. Nearshore habitats are diverse, and include rocky shores, sandy beaches, muddy shores, mangroves, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. Their distribution is largely influenced by climate, geomorphology and coastal land use. Coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves, also classified as nearshore ecosystems/habitats, are addressed in separate chapters in this report.

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