Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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A few decades ago, Caribbean beaches were deserted areas, used occasionally for recreation but avoided for building because of flooding and other dangers. However, in the Caribbean, as in other parts of the world, there has been a geographical shift in recent decades as activities have become concentrated adjacent to the coast.

As a result, pressures facing the region’s beaches, from natural forces such as storms and hurricanes, and from man’s activities such as building new beachfront development and mining beach sand, continue to increase. Further-more, local populations and numbers of visitors increase annually. Tourism continues to be the mechanism powering the growth of economies of the small islands of the Caribbean. Projected growth for Caribbean tourism is estimated at 35% over the next decade (38). Thus it is likely that new problems will emerge and existing ones will worsen. The need to properly manage the region’s beach resources has never been greater.

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