Coral Reef Restorations Can Be Optimized to Reduce Coastal Flooding Hazards

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The study provides new guidelines for coral reef restoration to reduce the risk of flooding in tropical coastal communities.

 Roelvink et al. 2021

A new study published in Frontiers in Marine Science evaluates of how coral restoration can reduce coastal flooding for various types of reefs. Coral reefs are effective natural coastal flood barriers that protect adjacent communities. Coral degradation compromises the coastal protection value of reefs while also reducing their other ecosystem services, making them a target for restoration.

The study simulated waves travelling over different reef profiles at various stages of restoration and found that to reduce the risk of flooding, the upper fore reef and middle reef flat, typically characterized by physically-robust coral species, should be targeted for restoration.

The researchers set out guidelines to maximize the benefits of reef restoration, not only for the coral ecosystem, but also to protect the coast and local communities from coastal flooding. By optimizing coral reef restoration efforts to reduce coastal flooding, this also can provide a double benefit for using hazard risk reduction funding for both hazard risk and conservation purposes.

Read more in the full paper.