Coconuts are becoming an important part of protecting global shorelines

Coir on the bank of the Shark River in Neptune, New Jersey.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Coconuts are increasingly being used around the world as part of efforts to keep shorelines from eroding.

Strands of coconut husk, known as coir, can be spun into mats or logs that are flexible and able to be molded on uneven areas of shoreline. As The Associated Press explains, the coir biodegrades over time, "but before it does, it is sometimes pre-seeded with shoreline plants and grasses." The mats and logs hold the plants in place so they can take root, and once the coconut-based materials break down, it leaves "the established plants and sediment around them in place to stabilize the shoreline." Because coconut is readily available around the world, this can be a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to barriers made of wood, steel, or concrete.

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