Between land and sea
About 27 % of French mainland coastline is eroding. These areas became increasingly vulnerable in recent years. With a growing population living less than 25 kilometres from sea shores in France and all over the world new challenges are looming. Not only erosion and receding coastlines but also major societal issues.
There are three types of coastal environments in France: estuaries, cliffs and sandy beaches. As they have extremely different morphologies, the processes causing changes and erosion in these environments also greatly differ. In the 1970s, hard structural protections were built to fix shorelines, but these structures sometimes caused the problems to occur in some other places. New and more flexible solutions are now studied and other technologies are being tested. These are analysed by several dozens of scientists from different research organisations like the CNRS, the BRGM, the CNES and the SHOM. By using complementary tools and approaches, they try to characterize and understand the mechanisms governing the change in the territorial boundaries formed by the shoreline in a long-term perspective. Faced with the current risks and issues, researchers try to find the best solutions to address the complex phenomena with their local characteristics through exchanges with local populations and authorities.