Using GIS to Identify Areas of Human Development that Contribute to Coastal Erosion on the Islands of Oahu and Kauai
The impacts of human development on Hawaiian coastlines is a growing concern, as a combination of human and natural processes have contributed to coastal erosion. The increasing frequency of human developmental projects continues to put a strain on natural on-going coastal processes. The aim of this research is to develop a vulnerability index model using GIS to identify areas of human development in the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Kauai that contribute to coastal erosion. Land use, road networks, hotel presence and harbors are analyzed using the vulnerability index model. A flow accumulation model analyzing streams and dams is then used to evaluate the impact of dams on accumulation to the coast. After conducting analyses with both models, this study found that the watershed and coastal vulnerability maps for both islands show areas of human activity that contribute to coastal erosion. Additionally, despite Oahu's higher population and greater areas of urban development, the dams on Kauai's coast were found to be a source of human development that is equally impactful to the coast. As GIS applications are vital in analyzing spatial patterns and trends, accurate models of various socioeconomic activities could be used in conjunction with data addressing the physical characteristics of the Hawaiian coastlines to better manage coastal erosion.