Mangrove forests can reduce the vulnerability of adjacent coastal lands from storm surges by slowing the flow of water. Although the potential utility of mangroves in disaster risk reduction is increasingly recognized by coastal managers, efficient use of this ecosystem-based protection is often hindered by the scarcity of location-specific information on the protective capacity of mangroves.
This paper evaluates that capacity in seven coastal locations of Bangladesh, where surge heights can range from 1.5 to 9 meters. Estimates confirm varying levels of protection from different species, width, and density of mangrove forests.
The findings highlight that mangroves, as a type of nature-based solutions or "green" infrastructure, must be used along with traditionally-built "grey" infrastructure such as embankments. However, mangroves in the foreshore of embankments will contribute to savings in maintenance costs by protecting the built infrastructure from breaching and other damages.