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Assessing anthropogenic vulnerability of coastal regions

Assessing anthropogenic vulnerability of coastal regions: DEA-based index and rankings for the European Atlantic Area

authors: Javier Fernández-Macho, Pilar González, Jorge Virto

Institute for Public Economics and Dpt of Quantitative Methods,
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Bilbao, Spain

To be published in Marine Policy, Volume 119, September 2020


This paper aims to assess the vulnerability of coastal areas to sectoral pressures from maritime-related socio-economic activities.
To do this, a DEA-based method is proposed to construct a synthetic index of anthropogenic vulnerability with which to rank European Atlantic Area countries and regions down to a regional scale below the national level.

The set of indicators selected for this index focuses on five important vectors: marine spills, port activities, tourism, protection of natural areas, and water quality and waste management.

The paper shows that, overall, the United Kingdom has the most vulnerable coast in Atlantic Europe, with Ireland showing the most resilient coast of all.

Furthermore, the proposed method also allows one to identify peer groups with the same vulnerability pattern.

Thus, policies aiming to reduce the vulnerability of a target region may be devised by focusing on the least vulnerable regions within the relevant group.

The detailed analysis presented may help regional policy makers as a diagnostic tool to detect and assess vulnerability weaknesses so that they can design and carry out appropriate actions in line with integrated European coastal management policies.

Read or Download the Paper Here