Trends in coastal development and land cover change: The case of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

  • Bronwyn Jane Palmer Oceanographic Research Institute
  • Rudy van der Elst Oceanographic Research Institute
Keywords: Land cover change, coastal management, coastal development


Current land cover and development in the coastal zone of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is assessed in this paper. It looks at, in detail, historic changes in coastal development and land cover over time for two sites. The KZN coastal zone has and continues to undergo rapid development due to a number of causes, including population growth, social and economic development and climate induced factors. The results presented indicate that a very high proportion of the KZN coastal zone is already densely developed, with much of it unevenly distributed. It is argued that urgent management interventions are needed in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the coast, the ecosystem services that it delivers and to provide protection for the very developments built in the coastal zone. The new South African Integrated Coastal Management Act provides a framework within which this can be achieved.

Author Biographies

Bronwyn Jane Palmer, Oceanographic Research Institute
Rudy van der Elst, Oceanographic Research Institute

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0856-860X
print ISSN: 0856-860X