COASTALDESIGNBUILD | building solutions for our fragile islands
These Caribbean islands are often described as untouched beauty, nature’s paradise. However, like most marketing statements, they conceal the fragility of our natural environment, which has been under attack for a great many more years than the discovery of Global Warming.
In fact, global warming is the culmination of a host of human generated factors working to destroy the earth as we know it.
Unsustainable use of limited and dwindling biological resources is the main threat to our biodiversity. Timber extraction, over production of charcoal, collection of rare plants for horticulture, hunting and egg collection and the sale of native animals and fish as pets, have created scarcities, destabilisation and inevitable destruction, erosion and extinction.
Agricultural over development and large scale land clearance, originally for sugar cane, began in the 16th century with European colonialism, increasing during the 18th and 19th centuries and has lead to wholesale deforestation throughout the region.
The banana boom of the 1970s and 80s intensified the deforestation predominantly in the windward islands.
Streams and rivers were rerouted, hillsides were over cultivated
by a rise in cocoa, coffee and tobacco, leaving large tracts of land abandoned and infertile after the over cultivation of cotton and sugar. These in turn were used as pasture for a considerable increase in livestock production.
Overgrazing permanently altered the native vegetation and destroyed forest areas, leaving only scrub.
The invasion of alien species of goats, cats, pigs and rats lead to 50% of indigenous extinctions in our island environments.
The dramatic increase of populations, economies, urban industrial and commercial developments and supporting infrastructure, as well as widespread tourism facilities has had a profound impact on coastal, beach and coral reef deterioration.
Sadly, the majority of these negative impacts have come at an incalculable cost to natural island ecosystems.
With this backdrop, COASTAL works assiduously with clients and developers to jointly expedite projects and improve the ecosystem to ensure some degree of regeneration. At the very least, the company can work towards halting deterioration, by using solutions which replenish and avert disaster.
If an area is to be developed for human habitation, then it should be engineered to create an alternative, positive and regenerative environment, through the use of natural forces combined with defensive elements such as groins, revetments and floating, non invasive construction.
COASTAL’s recent work in the Turks and Caicos Islands reflect those goals, given the extremely low topography and lack of native vegetation. Strong tides and winds and poor soil create an environment which requires a solid understanding of coastal degradation to arrest the annual ravages of nature.
All of this to create a true tropical tourism experience.
From planning and good science, engineering and interpretation
of future weather patterns, to excellent construction and installation capabilities, COASTAL has the specialist skills to create and refurbish our delicate islands, making each project durable and sustainable.
We welcome new and diverse proposals and challenges
to improve our environment.