Fenster, M.S.; Hughes, C.P., and Stutz, M.L., 2022. A survey of global mixed-energy and wave-dominated barrier island distribution and development. Journal of Coastal Research, 38(4), 795–806. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
This study quantifies the length, percentage, and type of development found on global mixed-energy and wave-dominated coastal plain and deltaic barrier islands. Google Earth photographic imagery from 2015–2017 was used to measure the lengths of individual islands, identify infrastructure types 300 m landward of the shoreline, and measure the alongshore extent of each island's land uses. The United States Geological Survey's land-use classification scheme enabled categorization and quantification of predominant structure types. The results from this study showed that, of the 1444 mixed-energy and wave-dominated barrier islands located within 53 countries around the world: (1) 832 (approximately 59%) of those barriers islands have some type of development; (2) approximately 16% of the total length of shorelines (approximately 1,793 km/11,249 km) are developed; (3) wave-dominated barriers (approximately 17%) are more developed than mixed-energy (approximately 14%) barriers; (4) coastal plain (approximately 21%) settings have double the development than deltaic settings; (5) the U.S. contains approximately 66% of all developed global barrier island shorelines and the highest percent development of mixed-energy (New Jersey approximately 67%) and wave-dominated (Florida approximately 62%) coastal plain barrier islands in the world; and (6) high-density, residential dwellings dominate development type and comprise an average 14% of the world's barrier island shorelines. Finally, development percentage and/or land use type do not appear to depend on or correlate with hydrodynamic or geologic setting and coastal processes and geology do not influence development type. Instead, site specific or regional factors most likely dictate the percentage and type of development.