The Caribbean a vulnerable region in a changing earth-system environment

Relative sea level rise and climate change and an increasing human footprint are expected to have a great impact on Caribbean coastal zone morphology and ecosystems. The resulting habitat loss and ecosystem change across land – sea transitions pose a serious threat for coastal zones. The Caribbean has been identified as one of the most vulnerable regions in the world considering impacts of these developments on ecosystems and society. To effectively address this threat there is the urgent need for the development and timely implementation of mitigation scenarios.

Development of successful mitigation scenario’s demand adequate knowledge and understanding of the morpho and eco-dynamics of Caribbean coastal systems. However, there currently are significant gaps including modelling and a lack of detailed documentation of the ongoing changes in coastal morphology in different settings and studies to gain better insight in morphodynamics in different coastal configurations.

Current Coastal Defense Plans are inadequate to address effects of future sea level rise and climate change. Coastal protection plans can no longer assume the important role coral reefs play in coastal protection. Degradation of mangrove and seagrasses as a result of land cultivation and building result in additional system stressors. Combined these forces result in coastal erosion, eco-system degradation and an increased risk of the recurrent occurrence of hazards or floods in coastal, often urbanized environments.

A working conference: assessing the state of the art and devising sustainable coastal zone management strategies

The conference is set up as a working conference and aims to bring together coastal zone management professionals and scientists to exchange state of the art insights and discuss strategies to address the Caribbean regional coastal zone management challenges.

This conference is a one of a kind opportunity as it brings together an exceptionally strong team of internationally recognized earth science experts. The conference program has been prepared by a team consisting of experts in archaeology, biology, geosciences and physics, jointly covering a broad spectrum of highly qualified expertise in Earth System Science. The conference organization committee is jointly carried out by staff from TNO Caribbean and TNO Netherlands.

Vulnerable region