Wave attenuation potential, sediment properties and mangrove growth dynamics data over Guyana's intertidal mudflats: assessing the potential of mangrove restoration works

U.S.N. Best*, Mick van der Wegen, Jasper Dijkstra, J.A.H. Reyns, Bram van Prooijen, D. Roelvink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Coastal mangroves, thriving at the interface between land and sea, provide robust flood risk reduction. Projected increases in the frequency and magnitude of climate impact drivers such as sea level rise and wind and wave climatology reinforce the need to optimize the design and functionality of coastal protection works to increase resilience. Doing so effectively requires a sound understanding of the local coastal system. However, data availability particularly at muddy coasts remains a pronounced problem. As such, this paper captures a unique dataset for the Guyana coastline and focuses on relations between vegetation (mangrove) density, wave attenuation rates and sediment characteristics. These processes were studied along a cross-shore transect with mangroves fringing the coastline of Guyana. The data are publicly available at the 4TU Centre for Research Data (4TU.ResearchData) via https://doi.org/10.4121/c.5715269 (Best et al., 2022) where the collection Advancing Resilience Measures for Vegetated Coastline (ARM4VEG), Guyana, comprises of six key datasets.

Suspended sediment concentrations typically exceeded 1 g L−1 with a maximum of 60 g L−1, implying that we measured merely fluid-mud conditions across a 1 m depth. Time series of wind waves and fluid-mud density variations, recorded simultaneously with tide elevation and suspended sediment data, indicate that wave–fluid-mud interactions in the nearshore may be largely responsible for the accumulation of fine, muddy sediment along the coast. Sediment properties reveal a consolidated underlying bed layer. Vegetation coverage densities in the Avicennia-dominated forest were determined across the vertical with maximum values over the first 20 cm from the bed due to the roots and pneumatophores.

Generalized total wave attenuation rates in the forest and along the mudflat were between 0.002–0.0032 m−1 and 0.0003–0.0004 m−1 respectively. Both the mangroves and the mudflats have a high wave-damping capacity. The wave attenuation in the mangroves is presumably dominated by energy losses due to vegetation drag, since wave attenuation due to bottom friction and viscous dissipation on the bare mudflats is significantly lower than wave dissipation inside the mangrove vegetation. Data collected corroborate the coastal defence function of mangroves by quantifying their contribution to wave attenuation and sediment trapping. The explicit linking of these properties to vegetation structure facilitates modelling studies investigating the mechanisms determining the coastal defence capacities of mangroves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2445–2462
Number of pages18
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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