A New Formulation For Vegetation Induced Damping Under Waves And Currents Based On Their Standing Biomass


  • MARIA MAZA Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental de la Universidad de Cantabria, Spain
  • ISABEL GALLEGO Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental de la Universidad de Cantabria, Spain




nature-based solutions, coastal protection, climate change adaptation, wave damping, standing biomass


Estimation of the flow energy dissipation induced by an ecosystem that accounts for its characteristics (i.e. biomechanical properties, morphology, density) and the incident hydrodynamic conditions is crucial if ecosystem-based coastal protection measurements want to be implemented. Characterization of a vegetated ecosystem by measuring leaf traits, biomechanical properties of plants and the number of individuals per unit area involves a lot of effort and is case-specific. Previous studies have shown that wave height attenuation positively correlates with standing biomass (Maza et al., 2022) highlighting the crucial role played by this variable that can be used to estimate the ecosystem wave damping capacity without using calibration coefficients. In addition, this variable has been already characterized for many ecosystems and it can be estimated by aerial images (Doughty and Cavanaugh, 2019) and remote sensing techniques. However, this new approach has not been extended to conditions where waves and currents are simultaneously present. These conditions are very relevant to habitats like saltmarshes that are commonly affected by tidal currents or wave-induced currents flowing simultaneously with wind or swell waves. Then, to further explore this new approach based on the ecosystem standing biomass, a new set of experiments using real vegetation with contrasting morphology and biomechanical properties, and subjected to different combinations of waves and currents, is proposed. The obtained standing biomass-attenuation relationships will help to quantify the expected coastal protection provided by different vegetated ecosystems based on their standing biomass under the combined effect of waves and currents.




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