Building an oyster reef to protect the coast of Bangladesh. Project ECOBAS, eco-engineering, building with nature.

In the spotlight

Living coastal protection

Eco engineering can be used to protect the coast of Bangladesh. Every year, floods wash away the earthen dikes along the Bangladeshi coast. A barrier could be built in the sea to break the waves. Natural processes could be used to help build this barrier, researchers from Wageningen and other institutions have shown.

When a wall of concrete blocks is built just of the coast, oysters will start living on this wall and over time a semi-natural reef will be formed. Behind this reef, mangrove trees could be planted. This vegetation would break the waves before they reach the land. At the same time, it forms a natural habitat for fish and crabs, which the local population could eat or sell to generate some extra income. That is how Wageningen UR contributes to the quality of life.

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The reef in bangladesh is the result of the ECOBAS-project, in which IMARES Wageningen UR en LEI Wageningen UR collaborate with Royal HaskoningDHV and the Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries of the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh.