Resolving environmental complexity; a geologic appraisal of process-response elements and scale as controls of shoreline erosion along southeastern Lake Ontario, New York
Resolving environmental complexity; a geologic appraisal of process-response elements and scale as controls of shoreline erosion along southeastern Lake Ontario, New York (in A paradox of power; voices of warning and reason in the geosciences, Charles W. Welby (editor) and Monica E. Gowan (editor))
Reviews in Engineering Geology (1998) 12: 9-21
Geomorphic systems are inherently complex and are the product of a unique integrative history of surface processes, making it difficult for engineers, scientists, and resource managers to regulate environmental change in order to attain a specific management goal. A powerful means for unpacking geomorphic complexity is hierarchical classification of the dominant process-response elements of a geomorphic system. We apply hierarchical analysis specifically to the evaluation of the probable environmental effects of erosion-abatement projects at drumlin bluffs along the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario, assessing their impact across a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Some of the conclusions about probable impacts of shore-stabilization structures on the Ontario lakeshore are not intuitive, but are logically derived from the systematic hierarchical analysis of the system"s geomorphic complexity.