CLIMATE CHANGE – CURRENT SITUATION ON THE DUNE COAST TO THE EAST OF MARBELLA
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
The evolution of climate change on the Costa del Sol has been slow and silent. It is true that every year since the founding of ProDunas we had drawn the Public Administration’s attention to the fact that the winter storms reduced the physical appearance of the dunes in some areas. However, the normal balance between the marine currents and the east and west winds was tolerable and the regeneration of the dunes continued with the usual automatic interaction, year after year.
The protection of the dunes was and still today is paramount for our Association, so we take maximum care of the recovery of up to 9 areas of dune environment (including the dune ecosystems in the Natural Monument “Dunas de Artola”); We worked hard on their rehabilitation and in some dune environments improvements were made thanks to reforestation with native species. (These species are on the list of plants approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and by the Junta de Andalucía, and come from approved nurseries). This constant work for dune maintenance has been a ProDunas maxim. However, little by little in recent years we began to notice that the dune systems were beginning to act more as a bulwark and coming into direct contact with the waves. Their raison d’etre and their survival is, apart from being a natural heritage of enormous value for Marbella, a guarantee against the inroads of the sea on the surrounding urbanisations.
The charter of the 2015 Declaration that made all dune systems to the east of Marbella an Ecological Reserve shows that the active management and the good work of our Association since 2004 has had a valid raison d’être. The 9 dune zones benefit from a legal status so stated by the Ministry of the Environment of the Junta de Andalucía. Said norms, applied to the status of an Ecological Reserve, are supported by programs promoted by our Association, such as: dune sponsorship by schoolchildren, conservation and cleaning up days in the various ecosystems. Participation by members of the public takes an important place in the biodiversity conservation chain on the Costa del Sol coastline.
Thanks to this framework all the dune edges between the beach and the base of the dune must be visually marked. This is done by installing interconnected wooden stakes. Because of the length – 13 kms – of the 9 areas along the coast, ProDunas launched private sponsorship. This is how our members, private citizens and companies began their valuable cooperation that, by their financial contributions, began to protect and enhance the dune environments with these wooden stakes interconnected with ropes made from sisal, a natural fibre.
The deadliness of climate change began to be definitively confirmed during the winter of 2016 when atypical storms hit one after the other, 5 in just one winter. From that year, the storms are coming more and more virulently, degrading the beaches back to a depth of 2m. This caused the loss of all the protective stakes that had been set up in the dune perimeters. Several dunes are being affected dramatically and are crumbling internally. The loss of dune mass is showing that a natural system is breaking down with a vengeance.
This phenomenon can no longer be denied and definitive solutions must be considered with the utmost attention. Since 2016 our Association, together with marine engineers and scientists have studied the possible solutions to guarantee the necessary stabilisation of the coast to the east of Marbella. Measures must be put in place in the near future to counteract the rapid loss and degradation of the beaches. At the same time, new formulas for the Costa del Sol must take centre stage in political decisions so that lasting solutions can be found which will reduce the negative energy that storms develop – whether they come from the east, the south or the west.
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Asociación ProDunas Marbella
The Association works tirelessly for the defence and preservation of the unique ecosystems that survive in the natural sand dune environments in the Province of Málaga; promotes the protection of native flora and small wildlife; promotes recovery, rehabilitation and conservation of interesting biodiversity of sand dunes areas in the municipality of Marbella.