Kombiadou, K.; Matias, A.; Carrasco, R.; Ferreira, Ó.; Costas, S., and Vieira, G., 2018. Towards Assessing the Resilience of Complex Coastal Systems: Examples from Ria Formosa (South Portugal). In: Shim, J.-S.; Chun, I., and Lim, H.S. (eds.), Proceedings from the International Coastal Symposium (ICS) 2018 (Busan, Republic of Korea). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 85, pp. 646–650. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
The present paper contributes to assessing the resilience of a complex barrier island environment, namely of the Ria Formosa multi-inlet system in southern Portugal. The long-term morphologic evolution of four study areas during the last 60 years (1947 to 2014) is analysed based on aerial photographs, including the environments of oceanic and backbarrier beaches, dunes and salt marshes. The results show that each study area responded to external drivers (inlet stabilisation works, storms, etc.) differently, evolving in distinct patterns during the study period. All four study areas appear resilient to external pressures and/or forcing conditions, since they are either transforming (Barreta and Culatra islands), or adapting (Cabanas island and Cacela peninsula) or remaining stable at a near-equilibrium state (Tavira island). Based on the analysis of the multi-decadal evolution of the sites, four resilient barrier states are identified, related to the maturity and growth of the barrier. In the next stages, the research will focus on the relation between medium to short-term changes, aiming at understanding the response and feedbacks of the environments to specific drivers of change and relating them to resilience indicators.