by F Danielsen, MK Sørensen, MF Olwig, V Selvam, F Parish, ND Burgess, T Hiraishi, VM Karunagaran, MS Rasmussen, LB Hansen, A Quarto, N Suryadiputra
Science 310 (5748): 62005
This 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was extremely destructive; and areas subject to maximum tsunami intensity could likely not have had destruction averted. However, for areas subject to lower intensities, coastal tree vegetation provided protection. The authors use a case study from India to show how both mangrove forests and vegetation greenbelts served as buffers for the villages. Villages with one or both of those vegetative barriers suffered partial or no damage, as opposed to villages with no vegetation that were completely destroyed. The article ends with two recommendations: 1) preserve mangrove forests; and 2) conserve dune ecosystems or plant rows of other tree species to act as a barrier.