Economics and Rural Development, Volume 7, Number 2

MEASUREMENT METHODOLOGY OF LOSSES DUE TO EROSION OF COASTAL AREA IN LATVIA

Liga Brunina
Latvia University of Agriculture

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to elaborate a methodology for the measurement of structure of coastal area which is threatened by erosion and
to develop a methodology for appraisal of losses due to coastal erosion based on the coastal erosion forecasts for the next 50 years. The
goal of valuation is to provide a value for all assets within a coastal area: how much a square metre of a protected area or a beach costs. The
following tasks were carried out to achieve the aim: analysis of literature of worldwide recognised coastal researchers; derivation of appropriate
figures and methodology for Latvia’s situation; assessment of economic sectors related to coastal area in Latvia as well as calculation of
the losses due to coastal erosion for particular location within the area of wastewater treatment plant in Liepaja city. Latvia’s coastline is
characterised by erosion patterns, alternated with areas subject to accretion through sediment deposition. According to the data acquired from
the coastal monitoring stations, erosion has increased more than 4 times in the past 15 years compared with the 20th century, and approximately
33% of the coastline is currently subjected to erosion. Worldwide, governments and private organisations regularly have a need for estimates
of the economic value of natural resource services for cost- benefit analysis, natural resource damage assessments, or facilitation of natural
resource policy and management decisions in general. Latvia still lacks a state policy regarding coastal erosion prevention as well as adapted
method for calculation of damages caused by coastal erosion and its consequences. Therefore, the author of this paper basing on the results of
scientific studies has adapted a technology for the elaboration of methodology for calculation of looses caused by coastal erosion in Latvia.
The analysis is derived from the estimates on the economic effects of the sea level rise elaborated by coastal economic scientists of the USA,
Germany, and the Netherlands. The research serves as a framework for definition of fields related to Latvian coastline and determines related
values of land and capital with per-unit costs of coastal quantities, and costs of dry land and wetland lost to the sea level rise. The author has
elaborated and presented in this paper the formula of measurement methodology for Latvian coastline based on the results of Latvian scientific
programme “KALME” as well as the analysis of Latvian coastline and its structure and features. For instance, the elaborated methodology was
used for estimation of losses due to erosion in coastal area of the wastewater treatment plant in Liepaja city. The problem of coastal erosion for
wastewater treatment plant in Liepaja city is extremely significant. Therefore, the design of coastal defence was elaborated in 2009 based on
the research study of coastal erosion. Due to discrepancies in legislation and absence of measurement methodology of coastal economics, the
author of this paper estimated that the coastal defence alternative, which was chosen within Liepaja coastal protection project - mole would be
more expensive instead of the refused alternative – coastal nourishment.

Keyword(s): coastal economics, coastal erosion, environmental value transfer


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