Mangroves: A Coastal Savior

May 15, 2019

University of Houston - Read More

Warming climate has spurred the growth of mangroves along the Gulf coast, displacing wetlands and marshes. Now research conducted in the wake of Hurricane Harvey suggests there might be a benefit to that – areas protected by mangroves suffered less erosion and damage after Harvey pushed ashore on the central Texas coast.

“Sea level is rising, and the world is getting warmer, so mangroves are spreading along the coast,” said Steven Pennings, Moores Professor of biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston. “Maybe mangroves will save the Gulf coast.”

Data collected in November – about 14 months after Harvey slammed the coast – found that the shoreline eroded by about 26 feet, or eight meters, in areas with no mangrove protection, compared to those fully covered by the low, woody shrubs. Read more