Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

The applying of nature-based coastal defence

Nature-based defence to the world’s largest urban area - from science to practice

Highly urbanising coasts and increasing flood risks pose challenges for the 21st century. Traditional flood defence structures such as dykes and sea walls offer great protection but are costly. Coastal ecosystems provide cheaper supplements, but their effectiveness is not well understood. How can we create them, and how large will they be 20, 50 years from now? Large enough to protect the land behind it?

Hailing Island, one of the field sites. Photo: Rosanna van Hespen

The aim of this project

This project looks at these questions from three different scales:

  • large-scale delta modelling that happens at the NOC and the University of Liverpool in the UK,
  • local-scale modelling carried out at Sun Yat-Sen University in China, and
  • experimental and field work on individual mangrove seedlings and teres, carried out here at NIOZ.

We apply our work to one of the largest and urban deltas in the world: the Pearl River Delta in south China. This delta area encompasses the major economical hubs Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou and is inhabited by over 120 million people. 

A view on the area

Project information
Linked department:
Netherlands Organization for S…
1 Oct 2017 - 31 Dec 2021

Meet the team

Bouma, Tjeerd
Senior Research Leader