Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems

Estuarine and coastal ecosystems form transitional zones between marine and fluvial or terrestrial ecosystems. They are characterized by tidal changes and in the case of estuaries also by the intersection of fresh and salt water. Examples are mangroves, beach forests and peat swamps.

Low-lying coastal areas frequently experience coastal flooding caused by tidal flooding and storm surges as well as tsunamis. Coastal areas in the tropics are furthermore subject to tropical cyclones and resulting floods. 

Coastal ecosystems contribute to the protection from inundation of inlands along the estuaries and coastal areas, through their physical presence and capacity to retain water and absorb the energy of coastal storms. Moreover, they reduce coastal erosion.

For example,  extensive areas of mangroves are able to take the first brunt of the impact and dissipate the energy of the waves as they pass through the mangrove area.


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