Coastal Conflicts: Managing the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site
The Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site which is more popularly known as the Jurassic Coast is England’s first and only natural geological World Heritage Site. The Site is a 95 mile stretch of the south coast from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland in Dorset. The Jurassic Coast is the only place on Earth where 185 million years of the Earth’s history are sequentially exposed in dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, coastal stacks and barrier beaches. For the geological and geomorphological features to be maintained, natural processes such as erosion must be allowed to continue and shape the cliffs and beaches. The main threat to the continuation of these natural processes is the construction of coastal defences such as sea walls, rock armour and gabions. These engineering structures disrupt the natural coastal processes of erosion and deposition and serve to stabilise the cliffs, promoting vegetation growth which then obscures the geology and fossils. Managing the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is not a straightforward task. The Site is a long thin strip of cliffs and beaches, owned by many different landowners, and protected through a variety of UK conservation and planning laws. The Site is also a very popular destination for tourists and local residents alike, and the ten towns that provide the gateways to the Site all receive large numbers of visitors throughout the year. With a projected rise in sea levels combined with the greater frequency of winter storms, the resolution of how to best manage this coastline for nature and the local community looks even more complex.
Dr Anjana Ford is an Earth Scientist specialising in communicating ideas about geology, geomorphology and processes that form natural landscapes to a wide range of audiences. Dr Ford has a BSc. in Earth Science from Kingston University and a Ph.D. from the University of Southampton based on her research on deformation mechanics in sediments beneath glaciers. She spent four years in the US as postdoctoral research scientist working on a variety of research projects. It was her work with the National Park Service that inspired her to shift her career towards science communication and public engagement. She works for the Jurassic Coast Trust as the Programme Manager for Learning. Through her role, Dr Ford has developed considerable knowledge and expertise in interpreting complex scientific ideas and communicating these messages to non-specialist audiences. In 2016, the Jurassic Coast team was awarded the prestigious Geographical Award from the RGS for “outstanding collaborative work to foster student and wider public engagement with the Jurassic coastline”.
Further Details on our series available here: https://mscecesoton.wordpress.com/coastal-seminar-series/semester-1-20172018/