Abstract: Storm surge and sea level rise (SLR) are affecting coastal communities, properties, and ecosystems. While natural ecosystems in coastal areas, such as wetlands and marshes, have the capacity to reduce the impacts of storm surge and coastal flooding, the increasing rate of SLR can cause reduction and migration of these natural habitats. Therefore, it is important to develop ecosystem-based flood protection approaches that will not only protect the properties and communities, but also the ecosystems that can reduce the impacts of natural disaster and climate change. Additionally, the concepts of nature based solutions has recently garnered global, regional and local attention to address both societal and environmental challenges. This talk will share the findings from several studies to investigate the role natural solutions to address environmental challenges, and evaluate how they can enhance societal resilience. The research has combined coastal modeling with economic analysis to quantify the capacity and value of these natural ecosystems to reduce the impacts of storm surge and sea level rise at regional and local scales in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It will also showcase how facilitating natural protection, alongside infrastructure and conventional defence systems, can contribute to enhance coastal flood protection in Bangladesh.
Figure. Reduction in flooding during Hurricane Sandy due to the presence of natural habitats (Basemap source: ESRI [42,43]). Source: Rezaie et al 2020: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226275.g003
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