Building an index of exposure to coastal change in Eastern Africa with applications to conservation of cultural heritage

Luciana S. Esteves, Caridad Ballesteros

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Africa’s coasts are considered one of the most sensitive areas worldwide due to their exposure to natural hazards and high social vulnerability. This study presents the first regional assessment for East Africa that combines level of exposure to coastal hazards and social vulnerability, and considers implications to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Results indicate that 1340 km (12%) of the Eastern Africa coastline show high or very high exposure to coastal hazards, mainly in Mozambique (625 km) and Madagascar (614 km). Tanzania shows the least level of exposure with 57% of its coastline classified as very low or low exposure. However, coastal habitat loss could increase dramatically the exposure levels in Kenya and Tanzania. Although erosion may be an issue locally, 60% of the Eastern Africa coast is relatively stable. Relative to the regional index, the UNESCO Heritage Sites are not in areas showing high levels of exposure, but some may be if erosion rates increase or natural protection is lost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1076
Number of pages14
JournalCoastal Sediments 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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