The entire northwestern coast of Portugal is undergoing severe erosion and there are several areas at high risk of erosion. Commonly considered as a problem – because it jeopardizes human development along the coast – erosion is indeed a natural process of sediment redistribution. This paper presents a brief analysis of erosion driving forces and the subsequent state of vulnerability that coastal segments between the mouth of the River Douro and Cape Mondego are facing. The paper also discusses erosion risk levels, low or high, and the subsequent questions whether there are populations, economical assets or natural habitats at risk and/or areas prone to coastal flooding. Main challenges and future trends along the study area are identified in the light of understanding the underlying causes of conflicts and what realistically can be achieved given the morphodynamics and hydrodynamic processes, human development established along this coastal segment and the existing policies.
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Vol. 10 • No. 1