Wave reduction in a mangrove forest dominated bySonneratiasp.

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Abstract

Based on a field observation at the Vinh Quang coast in northern Vietnam, the characteristics of wave reduction due to the drag force of one mangrove species, Sonneratia sp., were quantitatively analyzed. The reduction rate of sea waves in this area changed substantially with the tidal phase, due to the unique vertical configuration of Sonneratia sp. At the shallow range of water depth, since the shape of pneumatophores of Sonneratia sp. tapers off upward, the effect of drag force by these roots on the wave reduction decreased with the increase in the water level, resulting in a decrease in the rate of wave reduction. On the other hand, when water levels rose above the height of thickly spread branches and leaves of these trees, the rate of wave reduction increased again with an increase in the water level. Further, at this high range of water level, the rate of wave reduction depended strongly on the incident wave height. These results indicate that the thickly grown mangrove leaves effectively dissipate huge wave energy which occurs during storms such as typhoons, and protect coastal areas. Referring to the past studies, our results suggest that the hydrodynamic knowledge in various mangrove conditions such as the vertical configuration of mangrove species, their vegetation conditions, water depth, incident wave condition and the relationships between these factors should be further accumulated and then quantitatively formulated in order to protect coastal areas from severe sea waves.

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