Long-term perspectives on the evolution of river deltas have provided useful knowledge capable of responding to pending questions related to the ongoing climate and environmental changes. Increasing utilization pressure on delta environments has necessitated increased attention to protect the socio-economic and ecological values. As a result, multiple local initiatives have been designed, aimed at mitigating environmental deterioration and implementing adaptive measures, but many such initiatives have shown limited success. This thesis uses a case study of Save River delta in Mozambique to explore the relation between geomorphological evolution and socio-ecological system dynamics in delta environments. In addition, key environmental variables that concern the society today are highlighted and discussed in a management perspective. The results of the study show the development of Save River delta from the mid-Holocene to the present. The geomorphological settings of the delta suggest a faulted coastline over which subsequent deposition of fluvial sediments has formed a protruding delta front. Between c. 3000 and 1300 years ago, fine-grained sediments accumulated on top of the delta-front in the proximal part of the delta. This type of material was deposited under intertidal conditions and supported the formation of mangrove habitat. The geographical distribution of the mangrove deposit was driven by successive stages of back-barrier swamp formation and sea-level change as the delta evolved. From c. 1300 years ago, the river delta started to receive fluvial sediments from pulses of floods forming an alluvial floodplain. These sediments have accumulated mainly on the fine-grained mangrove wetland deposit. All the geomorphological features have evolved in a shoreward-shifting pattern over time. Centennial to decadal changes observed in the delta have followed a predictable geomorphological pattern, which is also part of the millennial evolution. The mangrove system, the base for the socio-economic system, is consequently strongly affected by the geomorphological development of the area. An increasing sensitivity of socio-ecological systems to environmental stressors, e.g. floods, cyclones and erosion, has motivated multiple initiatives to work towards a sustainable management of delta environments. This thesis highlights the need for interplay between geomorphology and ecology, considering both long- and short-term dynamics of delta environments. Hitherto, management initiatives have been concentrated on fragmented interventions of controlling water flow, which have disrupted the natural dynamics by obstructing the sedimentation-erosion cycle. To change this trend, coastal planners need to consider the significance of natural processes, e.g. cyclones, floods, erosion and accretion, for the long-term ecological and social sustainability of delta environments.
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2. Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.