The importance of mangrove conservation in tsunami prone regions

Oct 30, 2007

Agricultural expansion rather than shrimp farming is the major factor responsible for the destruction of tropical mangrove forests in the tsunami-impacted regions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka, according to a new study published in the Journal of Biogeography.

Giri and other researchers used more than 750 Landsat satellite images to identify the remaining mangrove forests of the region, to quantify the rates and causes of change from 1975 to 2005, and to identify deforestation ‘hot spots,’. Landsat is the world’s longest continuously acquired collection of space-based land remote sensing data. The study found that the major factors responsible for mangrove deforestation in the study area include agriculture encroachment (81%), aquaculture (12%), and urban development (2%). However, shrimp farming is on the rise in Indonesia and Thailand.

Time-series analysis of historical data from the Landsat archive also suggests that the tsunami-impacted region lost 12% of the mangrove forests from 1975 to 2005, much lower than estimated mangrove loss in Asia, which ranges from 25 to 50%. According to Giri and the other researchers, mangrove loss varies according to country and time period. Their study found that the annual rate of deforestation was highest in Burma (~1%) and lowest in Sri Lanka (0.1%) from 1975 to 2005. In contrast, mangrove forests in India and Bangladesh remained unchanged or gained a small percentage during the period. Similarly, net deforestation peaked at 137,000 ha during 1990-2000, increasing from 97,000 ha during 1975-1990 and declining to 14,000 ha during 2000-2005.

Data and information generated from this study can be used to identify potential rehabilitation sites, set conservation priorities, and quantify the role of mangrove forests in saving lives and property from natural disasters such as the Asian tsunami.

Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Explore further: Scientists may be cracking mystery of big 1872 earthquake

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New largest number factored on a quantum device is 56,153

1 hour ago

(Phys.org)—Researchers have set a new record for the quantum factorization of the largest number to date, 56,153, smashing the previous record of 143 that was set in 2012. They have shown that the exact same room-t ...

Recommended for you

Volcano in south Japan erupts, disrupting flights

10 hours ago

A volcano in southern Japan is blasting out chunks of magma in the first such eruption in 22 years, causing flight cancellations and prompting warnings to stay away from its crater.

Questions of continental crust

Nov 27, 2014

Geological processes shape the planet Earth and are in many ways essential to our planet's habitability for life. One important geological process is plate tectonics – the drifting, colliding and general ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.