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

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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.