Since prehistoric times, seawater has played a fundamental role in the lives, histories, cultures, and civilizations of mankind. In the continuously evolving interaction between mankind and nature, the impact of human activities on the coastal areas is becoming increasingly manifest. It is reflected by declining fisheries, growing pollution of marine sites, and an increasing incidence of floods, wave turbulence, coastal erosion, varying temperatures and water levels, lowered groundwater tables, and waterborne diseases.

The main influencing factor generating these phenomena is climate change, which necessitates coastal zone management combining ecology, engineering, and adaptations. This is a tough task. It encompasses the integration of preservation of the coastal environment, the continuous quest for improvement of living conditions, and the development of resilience under the impacts of climate change.

Based on the Short Course/Conference on Applied Coastal Research (SCACR) in 2019, this special issue was planned with 12 peer-reviewed articles entitled, Coastal zone management and adaptation under climate change: Integrating Ecology and engineering. SCACR (www.SCACR.eu) is a technical conference series focusing on research issues related to:

  • Ocean and coastal dynamics

  • Impacts of and adaptation to climate change

  • Coastal engineering

  • Oceanography

  • Geology and ecology

  • Water quality and remedial actions

  • Coastal hydrodynamics and marine pollution

  • Assessment and mitigation of extreme events.

The series brings together students and reputed researchers and managers. It is, therefore, of interest for PhD students, field and laboratory researchers and modellers to share a common interest in the physical processes of the coastal zone and their interactions with the various structures and ecosystems.

SCACR 2019 was hosted by Polytechnic of Bari (DICATECH) and the University of Salento (DII), located in Italy’s Puglia region. This region is characterized by its coastline of almost 900 km showing visible impacts from anthropogenic activities and climate change, such as increasing dune erosion, flooding risk, outbreak of invasive species, and marine pollution. Polytechnic of Bari is a research unit of the project STIMARE (sponsored by the Ministry for Environment and coordinated by the University of Bologna).

STIMARE (Innovative strategies, monitoring and analysis of the coastal erosion risk) is responsible for defining strategies for coastal management based on a strong involvement of the stakeholders concerning the use of innovative-low-cost technologies for coastal monitoring.

University of Salento is the scientific coordinator for the research project INNODUNECOST (granted by Regione Puglia). INNODUNECOST (Innovative technology for coastal dunes restoration) investigates and verifies the remediation of dunes eroded under wind/wave action. The research themes of the SCACR 2019 Conference (impacts and adaptation to climate change, coastal hydrodynamics) were very well in line with the aim of the INNODUNECOST Project; as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), coastal dunes fulfil many and varied valuable functions of the ecosystem such as acting as protection buffers against storm surges, waves and erosion, and provide a unique habitat for flora and fauna.

For SCACR 2019, we were pleased to invite International speakers Prof. Waleed Hamza (UAEU), Prof. John Paul Latham (Imperial College), Prof. Nobuhisa Kobayashi (University of Delaware), Dr. Marcel van Gent (Deltares), Prof. Yalcin Yuksel (Yildiz Teknik University), and Prof. Gregorio Iglesias (University College Cork).

We take this opportunity to thank various sponsors such as the University of L’Aquila (DICEAA), the CMCC Foundation, Offshore and Marine Engineering Association (AIOM) and the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) for their support in conference organization.

Finally, we would like to thank the AEHMS for agreeing to publish the special issue quickly and its team for developing, organizing and processing the manuscripts. We greatly appreciate the advice of Mohi Munawar (Chief Editor), Iftekhar. F. Munawar (Managing Editor) and assistance of AEHM editorial committee including Jennifer Lorimer, Margaret Holmes and Susan Blunt. We would like to thank Alessandra Saponieri for her facilitation and coordination of the manuscripts from SCACR 19.

Leonardo Damiani

Professor, Polytechnic of Bari

Giuseppe Roberto Tomasicchio

Professor, University of Salento

SCACR2019 co-Chairs

With the contribution of Fondazione Puglia