Rodríguez Cueto, Y. and Silva, R., 2019. Identification of areas exposed to storm surge flooding: Topographic factors and ecosystem changes. In: Silva, R.; Martínez, M.L.; Chávez, V., and Lithgow, D. (eds.), Integrating Biophysical Components in Coastal Engineering Practices. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 92, pp. 68–74. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
The analysis of ecosystems and topographic factors (relief, slope, and orientation) in the southern-central part of Cuba facilitated the evaluation of the coastal exposure to storm surge. This work used the natural habitat exposure rank and the Manning coefficient of each ecosystem as a means of evaluating the protective role of the ecosystems in coastal storm surge flooding. The study area is a low elevation coastal zone (LECZ), with relief measuring between 0 and 1.5 m in 24% of the area. It is mostly covered by natural vegetation and mangrove, with gentle slopes, oriented toward the south and southwest. From 1975 to 2014, decreases in the Manning coefficient and the natural habitat exposure ranking reduced the exposure to storm surge flooding. As a result of this analysis, it is possible to differentiate two zones in the study area according to their distinct spatial combinations of topographic factors and ecosystem changes.