A variety of anthropogenic pressures act on sandy beaches. The main stressors impinge on beaches over a range of temporal and spatial scales from short-term local (e.g., trampling) to truly long-term global (e.g., climate change and sea-level rise). These pressures translate into ecological impacts that are manifested across several dimensions in time and space. Press perturbations (operating on time scales of years to decades) causing permanent changes in sandy-beach ecosystems are becoming increasingly common. Field and laboratory experiments with robust sampling designs and monitoring programs are being increasingly employed to quantify the effects of different stressors. However, long-term data sets directed to assess human impacts on beaches are scarce and fragmentary. Such analysis will vary according to the magnitude of the impact and the organizational level being considered, and this must be linked to recognition of a physical–biological coupling at different scales. The evidence provided indicates that sandy beaches are ecosystems at risk and deserve more attention than given at present.
The Ecology of Sandy Shores (Third Edition), 2018, Pages 375–420, Chapter 15 – Human Impacts, Anton McLachlan, Omar Defeo