Coastal Erosion in West and Central Africa - UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No. 67

United Nations Environment Programme (1985)

This report was conceived with a naturalistic approach, i.e. global and inter-regional, incorporating different parameters which shape the coastal zone. It is subdivided into 3 main parts. The first one takes into account factors influencing coastal morphogenesis : climate and general oceanography, as first order environmental parameters ; geological formations as substrate over which the former exert their action, and the nature of the vegetation cover and of the soils they generate ; sediments distribution on the continental shelf, sources of these sediments (not necessarily of a terrigenous origin), hydrodynamic factors which rework the sediments ; sea level variations (minute at human's scale, but globally important), and, last but not least, man's interaction with the coastal zone. The second part deals with different types of coasts encountered along the Atlantic shores of Africa : it makes an inventory of shoreline variations during historical times, if documented, replaces the African coasts within the framework of the general classification of Inman and Nordstrom (1971), and argues the subdivision of this littoral into ten large natural areas. Finally, the last part analyzes regional characteristics of these ten areas. Let us recall that among the twenty countries grouped under the general label of Western and Central Africa, two do no appear in this report.

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