How do mangroves protect coastlines?

As well as being a carbon sink, helping to manage the climate crisis, mangrove forests are a nature-based solution (NBS) that protects against erosion, storms, and floods. This is achieved through the mangrove roots, trunks, and canopy acting as a physical barrier and lessening wave power. A 100-meter mangrove strip is considered to reduce wave heights by up to 66%, which can save lives during major storms [1]. Mangrove forests are also able to keep pace with rising sea levels and to avoid flooding through gradual vertical buildup of sediments [2].

  1. Van Wesenbeeck, B., Van Ijzendoorn, C., & Nunez Sanchez, A. (2019), Regional: Protecting and Investing in Natural Capital in Asia and the Pacific. Guidelines for mainstreaming natural river management in ADB Water Sector Investments. Asian Development Bank.
  2. Lovelock, C. E., Cahoon, D. R., Friess, D. A., Guntenspergen, G. R., Krauss, K. W., Reef, R., Rogers, K., Saunders, M. L., Sidik, F., Swales, A., Saintilan, N., Thuyen, L. X., & Triet, T. (2015), The vulnerability of Indo-Pacific mangrove forests to sea-level rise. Nature, 526(7574), 559-563. doi: 10.1038/nature15538.
About the author

Vasiliki I. Chalastani is a PhD candidate at the Laboratory of Harbour Works, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece. Her thesis, “Optimization Approaches for Marine Spatial Planning,” aims to develop tools for optimal use of the marine environment through reconciliation of human activities and conservation features. Previously, following her undergraduate studies as a civil engineer at NTUA, Chalastani pursued her MSc, “Water Air Pollution and Energy at Global and Regional Scales,” at École Polytechnique, Paris, France. While in France, she has completed an internship at the Laboratoire Océanographique de Villefranche and at École Normale Supérieure on ocean-based solutions. From 2018 to 2019, Chalastani acted as a consultant for the Alternate Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy of Greece, Nektarios Santorinios. In 2018, she worked for the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Paris, with Alexandre K. Magnan, on the issue of climate change adaptation. In 2019, Chalastani worked for the Saudi Red Sea Project, developing a preliminary marine spatial planning initiative, under the supervision of Carlos M. Duarte. She is a member of the National Chamber of Engineers and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN), Greece.