The role of nature-based infrastructure (NBI) in coastal resiliency planning: A literature review

Journal Article

Title: The role of nature-based infrastructure (NBI) in coastal resiliency planning: A literature review
Publication Date:
December 01, 2016
Journal: Journal of Environmental Management
Volume: 183
Pages: 1088-1098
Technology Type:

Document Access

Website: External Link


Saleh, F.; Weinstein, M. (2016). The role of nature-based infrastructure (NBI) in coastal resiliency planning: A literature review. Journal of Environmental Management, 183, 1088-1098.

The use of nature-based infrastructure (NBI) has attracted increasing attention in the context of protection against coastal flooding. This review is focused on NBI approaches to improve coastal resilience in the face of extreme storm events, including hurricanes. We not only consider the role of NBI as a measure to protect people and property but also in the context of other ecological goods and services provided by tidal wetlands including production of fish and shellfish. Although the results of many studies suggest that populated areas protected by coastal marshes were less likely to experience damage when exposed to the full force of storm surge, it was absolutely critical to place the role of coastal wetlands into perspective by noting that while tidal marshes can reduce wave energy from low-to-moderate-energy storms, their capacity to substantially reduce storm surge remains poorly quantified. Moreover, although tidal marshes can reduce storm surge from fast moving storms, very large expanses of habitat are needed to be most effective, and for most urban settings, there is insufficient space to rely on nature based risk reduction strategies alone. The success of a given NBI method is also context dependent on local conditions, with,potentially confounding influences from substrate characteristics, topography, near shore bathymetry, distance from the shore and other physical factors and human drivers such as development patterns. Furthermore, it is important to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of newly developed NBI projects through rigorous evaluations and characterize the local specificities of the particular built and natural environments surrounding these coastal areas. In order for the relevant science to better inform policy, and assist in land-use challenges, scientists must clearly state the likelihood of success in a particular circumstance and set of conditions. We conclude that "caution is advised" before selecting a particular NBI method as there is no "one size fits all" solution to address site specific conditions. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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