Thomas J. van Veelen, Harshinie Karunarathna, Tom P. Fairchild, William G. Bennett, John Griffin, Dominic E. Reeve


Salt marshes are vegetated tidal wetlands, which can typically be found at sheltered coastal areas in moderate climate zones. Their potential as natural coastal protection by wave attenuation (Möller et al, 2014), reduction of flood-surge propagation (Stark et al., 2016) and shoreline stabilization (Bouma et al, 2014) has been increasingly recognized among scientists and engineers, but it comes with risks. Our understanding of the biogeomorphological dynamics between salt marsh vegetation, hydrodynamics and sediment is limited, while these are essential to identify the protective value of marshes to coastal protection (Wu et al., 2017). In this study, we present a predictive process-based model with a newly validated vegetation module to study the potential of salt marshes to contribute to coastal protection for a case study site in West Wales, United Kingdom.

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