Simulation modeling of vegetation impacts on barrier island stability during hurricane events using the ECOS 2T ecological model

W. M. Childless, C. L. Coldren, T. McLendon, N. Pansic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Barrier islands form a primary buffer from hurricanes and other storm events to inland areas. It is widely understood that vegetation plays a key role in the ability of these landforms to serve as storm buffers and to promote recovery from storm damage. However, until recently, there have been very few modeling tools to simulate the role of vegetation in these very dynamic systems. Such a model now exists that can simulate both the impacts of storm events on these islands and on adjacent inland areas, and the role of vegetation in maintaining the integrity of these islands. ECOS 2T (Ecological Systems for a Sustainable Tomorrow) is a mechanistic ecosystem model that simulates both physical and biological processes at multiple scales over time. This model was used to simulate storm damage on a hypothetical barrier island along the central Gulf Coast of Texas. The primary processes implemented include effects of wind and wave transport of sand across the island, effects of vegetative cover, and impacts of winter storms and fall hurricane events. Simulation runs project the potential damage to topography in different physical zones under different climatic scenarios. The results indicate unexpectedly complex interactions among wind and wave processes in different zones. Models such as ECOS 2T which can implement multiple physical and biological processes, should be particularly valuable for coastal ecosystem planning to maximize protection from storm events and to develop restoration plans for these critical ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSolutions to Coastal Disasters 2005 - Proceedings of the Conference
EditorsL. Wallendorf, L. Ewing, S. Rogers, C. Jones
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2005
EventSolutions to Coastal Disasters 2005 - Charleston, SC, United States
Duration: May 8 2005May 11 2005

Publication series

NameSolutions to Coastal Disasters 2005 - Proceedings of the Conference


ConferenceSolutions to Coastal Disasters 2005
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCharleston, SC


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