A review of 15 studies finds overwhelming support that mangrove and salt marsh vegetation protects against erosion, storm surge, and potentially small tsunami waves. While wetland vegetation cannot protect shorelines in all scenarios, even small wetlands provide substantial protection from waves.
Gedan, Keryn B., Matthew L. Kirwan, Eric Wolanski, Edward B. Barbier, and Brian R. Silliman. (2011). The present and future role of coastal wetland vegetation in protecting shorelines: answering recent challenges to the paradigm. Climatic Change, 106(1), 7-29.