The effects of wave non-linearity on wave attenuation by vegetation

K. L. Phan, M. J.F. Stive*, M. Zijlema, H. S. Truong, S. G.J. Aarninkhof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)


Wave attenuation through mangrove forests has received more and more attention, especially in the context of increasing coastal erosion and sea-level-rise. Numerous studies have focused on studying the reduction of wave height in a mangrove forest. However, the understanding of this attenuation process is still in its infancy. In order to obtain more insight, a laboratory experiment, mimicking the processes of wave attenuation by coastal mangroves in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam was conducted. The reduction of wave height for different scenarios of mangrove densities and wave conditions was investigated. A new method to quantify vegetation attenuation induced by vegetation is presented. The wave height reduction is presented over a relative length scale (viz. the number of wavelengths), instead of an absolute length scale of the forest (e.g per meter or per 100 m). The effects of wave non-linearity on the wave height attenuation over the mangrove forest were investigated using the Ursell number. It is suggested that the non-linear character of waves has a strong influence on the attenuation of the waves inside the mangrove forest. A numerical model, mimicking the experiment was constructed in SWASH and validated using the experimental data. Finally, the data set was extended through numerical modelling so that a larger ranging relationship between wave attenuation per wave length and the Ursell number could be formulated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
JournalCoastal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Numerical model
  • Physical model
  • Vegetation
  • Wave height attenuation
  • Wave non-linearity


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