Geography and the Anthropocene
Anthropocene Coasts: A Review of Large-Scale Coastal Land Reclamation in East and Southeast AsiaDhritiraj Sengupta, Michael E. Meadows
Coasts are dynamic, evolving environments, with anthropogenic change driven by (i) groynes, jetties and breakwaters interrupting long-shore drift, (ii) seawalls changing sediment patterns; and (iii) land reclamation. Most of the world’s sandy beaches have remained stable over the period 1984 – 2016. However, human modification of upstream catchments has resulted in the net seaward expansion of deltaic land masses due to deforestation-induced fluvial sediment supply over the past thirty years despite rising sea levels. Further coastal expansion is observed in regions where large-scale coastal reclamation projects have been undertaken; for example, the construction of international airports (e.g., Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, China), residential/commercial zones (e.g., Lagos, Nigeria), and ports, as in Singapore. In total, since the mid-1980s, across 16 global megacities, more than 1,200 km2 of land has been reclaimed. This review paper provides an account of recent studies on large-scale coastal land reclamation and its impact in East and Southeast Asia, thereby highlighting key information on anthropogenic impact on the urbanized coast.