By: Caribbean Business Report
Researchers at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) are pleased to have secured US $300,000 to conduct much needed research into designing sustainable, nature-based coastal solutions.
The grant by Future Earth will fund research in Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Barbados and Jamaica aimed at generating a more universal approach to the design specification of nature-based solutions, making them more widely applicable.
Traditional hard engineering coastal structures like seawalls, dikes and breakwaters can be valuable for mitigating coastal hazards but these solutions also have several challenges.
They are often not adaptable to climate changes, can be harmful to the environment, negatively impact the cultural and socio-economic aspects of communities, are hardly aesthetically pleasing and require significant resources for maintenance during their lifetime.
UWI researchers involved in the project Engineering the Design of Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable Development are convinced that nature-based solutions can mitigate several of these challenges.
According to Dr Deborah Villarroel-Lamb, Principal Researcher and Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering at UWI St. Augustine “Hard engineering alone is rarely ever the optimal solution to a coastal problem; ecosystems must be considered as part or the whole solution.
Commenting further on the value for Caribbean SIDS she continued, “We need a more universal approach to the design of these nature-based solutions to render them economically viable and adaptable specifically for Caribbean SIDS. We are prepared to pursue the required research and are extremely grateful for this grant from Future Earth to facilitate this much-needed step in the right direction.