Researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz found a natural, cost-effective, and powerful solutions against future tropical storms and rising sea-levels.
Mangroves and corrals are inexpensive to install compared to the construction of levees or sea walls, yet they can absorb wave energy, reduce wave heights, and offers other environmental benefits.
Mangroves also store more carbon than any other forest ecosystems, which can help mitigate climate change.
These natural infrastructures could protect the 31 million people living in coastal areas worldwide that are considered “highly vulnerable” to coastal threats.
Building a 100-metre-wide coastal strip of mangroves not only reduce wave heights by up to two-thirds. Their capacity to reduce wave energy can significantly reduce erosion and slash the cost of flood-damage annually.
Highly vulnerable populations identified in the study are those living within two miles of coastline and scored within the 10th of the study’s vulnerability index which includes exposure to tropical storms and sea-level rise, dense population, and low-adaptive capacity.
Low-adaptive capacity in the study refers to having low economic power, education levels and other factors that would make it difficult for a region to adjust to climate variability.
Because of the mangroves and corrals reefs’ cost-effectiveness and capacity to buffer against coastal threats and other hosts of benefits like environmental benefits and protection of livelihoods, they are considered a “win-win solution” for the most vulnerable populations living in coastal regions in Central America, the Caribbean, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific region.
Researchers are pushing for the conservation and protection of mangroves and coral reefs in these areas.
Even wealthy nations like the United States can benefit from ecosystem-based adaptation in reducing the number of vulnerable population and exposed infrastructure along the US coastlines by using mangroves’ capacity to absorb wave energy.
To read the entire study, click the link below:
Northern Illinois University. “Vital buffers against climate change are just offshore: New study underscores need to conserve and restore mangroves, coral reefs.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2020. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200604113704.htm