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How Tampa’s Mangrove Losses Could Increase Risk of Wind Storm Damage

On Behalf of | May 18, 2018 | Preparing For Wind Damage

Are mangrove losses in West Central Florida putting Tampa Bay homeowners at greater risk of windstorm damage in the event of a hurricane or other severe storm? If you live in Florida, you may have heard that mangrove forests can provide protection against severe storm damage. If you know about the benefits of mangroves to people and property, you also may know that human impact has been extremely damaging to native mangrove forests throughout the state. We want to talk more about how a greater emphasis on environmental protection also might be able to help protect your home from severe storm damage.

How Mangrove Forests Help to Prevent Wind Storm Damage in Florida

According to a peer-reviewed article in the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, it is well known that “mangroves can protect lives and property from storms by buffering the impacts of storm surges.” What many people do not know, however, is that mangrove forests also have “effects in attenuating wind velocity and providing protection from wind damage during storms.” In other words, in addition to providing protection from storm surge-and flooding risks-mangrove forests may also help to protect individuals and their homes from severe wind damage.

The article came out of a study by environmental scientists who were interested in proving that mangroves not only provide protection against storm surge, but they also provide protection from high winds. They determined that “mangroves provide protection from wind damage by a storm, especially in areas where mangroves are present in large, continuous patches.” In addition, the researchers “found substantial evidence that mangroves attenuate wind and provide more storm protection than previously established and to structures much farther away from the forest than generally believed.” According to the article’s authors, mangroves provide protection against wind damage, and they can even help homes that are quite a distance away from the mangrove forest.

This type of research provides a basis for considering the loss of mangroves in the Tampa Bay area and the connection to increased risk of storm damage.

Mangrove Losses in the Tampa Bay Area

An article from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection explains that, while mangroves can sustain damage from natural elements, “there is no doubt that human impact has been most severe.” In particular, the loss of mangrove forests in Tampa Bay is particularly salient. Indeed, in the course of the last century, “Tampa Bay has lost over 44 percent of its coastal wetlands acreage,” which includes mangroves. The continuing loss of mangroves in the region could expose homeowners to additional wind storm damage that might be prevented by rebuilding the mangrove forests and wetlands.

As such, there appears to be a need to rebuild mangrove forests and to invest in the natural storm protection ecosystem along the coastlines of West Central Florida. There are currently regulations that are in place to help ensure that the current mangrove forests are protected. However, as the article in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science intimates, we may need to do more to help protect this coastal resource.

Discuss Your Claim with a Tampa Wind Storm Damage Lawyer

Filing a windstorm damage claim can be complicated. To learn more or to seek assistance, you should reach out to a Tampa windstorm damage attorney. An advocate at our firm can speak with you today. Contact the Valrico Law Group for more information.