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Investigaciones geográficas

versão On-line ISSN 2448-7279versão impressa ISSN 0188-4611


NUNEZ GOMEZ, Juan Carlos et al. Coastal vulnerability index for the Tabasco State coast, Mexico. Invest. Geog [online]. 2016, n.91, pp.70-85. ISSN 2448-7279.

Sea level rise is one of the most serious events that will impact low-lying lands, as is the case of most of Tabasco State. Historically, the State of Tabasco has been repeatedly impacted by extreme floods, the most recent one occurring in 2007. However, recent studies have shown that coastal erosion is the effect that most directly has impacted the Tabasco's coastline, as this has even modified soil strata; this is also related to extreme hydrometeorological events associated with environmental changes and changes in the salinity gradient off the coast. In such a situation, future changes in the coastline are almost certain. Tabasco's coastline has been recognized as one of the most vulnerable zones in the country since Mexico's first national communication to the UNFCCC in 1997. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the vulnerability of this zone. The purpose of this study was to estimate the vulnerability of the Tabasco's coastline by applying the coastal vulnerability index method (IVM) using a geographic information system (GIS). This method has been successfully applied in several different places around the world including Canada, the United State, Spain and Indonesia. This model is suitable for the local conditions of Tabasco coast, as the input variables it requires (including waves, tides, sea level, coastal slope, erosion rates and geomorphology) are available for the study area, thus allowing the possibility of estimating the coast's vulnerability based on local data. Results from map algebra operations showed that the zones of very high or high vulnerability encompass a six-kilometer stretch around the Sánchez Magallanes community, near the del Carmen lagoon in the municipality of H. Cárdenas, Tabasco. This is due to the high-waves regime and other conditions associated to the coastal dune geomorphology as well as the unconsolidated fine sediments prevailing therein. Other high vulnerability zones are found just in front of the major lagoon system in the State of Tabasco, the Carmen-Pajonal-Machona and Mecoacan lagoons; being the last one the most vulnerable of all. It is worth pointing out that this zone is located within the influence zone of the Dos Bocas port where an intense anthropogenic activity occurs. It is also important to point out that this study is one of the first approaches to the estimation of coastal vulnerability in Mexico. The implementation and application of this model of coastal vulnerability evaluation are significant given the spatial scale of the study and that this is the first time that these variables have been collected for the state of Tabasco. Our results might inform decision-making processes on the proper management of the Tabasco coastline, thus benefiting the local communities.

Palavras-chave : coastal vulnerability index; Tabasco; mapping and coastal management.

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