In a recent literature review published in Science of the Total Environment, a team that included our partners at the University of Georgia, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and The Water Institute investigated the roadblocks and knowledge gaps in the pathway to natural infrastructure implementation in coastal regions.

“Approximately 40% of the global population resides within a 100-km proximity to oceanic coastlines,” the paper opens. “With growing populations and economic expansion in coastal regions, exposure to flood risk is projected to increase.” This team aimed to investigate the state of research on the effects of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) on coastal flooding.

Using a series of keyword matching, the authors retrieved a total of 141 publications on natural infrastructure for coastal flood mitigation from the SCOPUS database. Most of the studies (61%) were at local scales, and took place in either the United States or the Netherlands. Over 40% looked specifically at marshes, while others studied other types of wetlands, barrier islands, reefs or dunes. In addition, the authors looked at the numerical model(s) used, the journals each paper was published by and the analytic strategy used.

Key takeaways: 

  • Research on compound flooding scenarios and natural infrastructure was lacking, with only 9% of studies touching on them, despite a pressing need to mitigate the destruction and loss of life from these events
  • Additional research is needed on navigating complex environments, managing computational costs, and addressing shortages of experts and data
  • Due to the complexities of working with natural infrastructure, the researchers provided a comprehensive framework for how to incorporate it into compound flood models
  • They also addressed gaps in the research-to-operations pathway and discussed the intricacies of working in interdisciplinary teams

Find the full article here

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