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Diachronic analysis of the shoreline in San Leone beach (Agrigento-Sicily)


In the last century the Italian coasts and the Sicilian ones, suffered of a radical transformation due to a large population increase. The coastal areas settlements is related to the growth of the industrial activities, the development of tourism and the associated expansion of the road network. The development of these activities, have encouraged the rapid growth of populated areas without adequate urban planning and environmental criteria. In many cases, private houses, hotels, roads or railways covered or occupied entire coastal areas, such as destroying several kilometers of backshore dune systems. In addition, the construction or expansion of ports and fishing marinas effected the natural drift of sediments and the exposed beaches. A useful tool to pursuit the economic and environmental sustainability of a coastal is to adopt an integrated and dynamic management approach of the coastal areas. In this framework, the study of coastal dynamics becomes a critical process to the proper management of the shoreline (Crowell 1977, De Lillis 2004). The aim of this study was to analyze the evolution (in terms of advances and retreats) of a sandy beach located on the southern coast of Sicily. This is the beach of San Leone (Agrigento), which takes its name from the nearby touristic settlement, once a small seafaring. This part of the coast has undergone strong anthropogenic pressures over time, especially due to the expansion of the marina that produced the substantial changes of the beaches. Unfortunately coastal works already completed to protect stretches of beach, for which they were designed, at the same time they have also produced undesired effects in neighboring coastal stretches, moving these dynamical coastal phenomena just in the “defenseless” zones.