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A new series that looks at each of the main coastal habitats
Each habitat is described in relation to its natural development and the way this has been influenced by human actions
Coastal habitats provide the link between the land and the sea. They are dynamic, combine to form ecosystems of great complexity and provide significant areas for wildlife. Their landscapes are treasured by visitors, painters and musicians. They also provide locations for significant economic activity and are intimately bound up with fisheries, providing food and shelter for some species of commercially exploited fish stocks. The habitats themselves provide a buffer to tides and wave action, which may be particularly important in areas where relative sea level is rising and during storm periods. Managing these assets in the face of continuing pressure from human populations on a sustainable basis is a major task.