Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lessons from the tsunami: protect the coast and it will protect you

12.08.2005


Photograph of a lagoon in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, pre and post tsunami of December, 2004


Photograph of a mosque/crop field in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, pre and post tsunami of December, 2004


Coastal populations and ecosystems are more likely to bounce back from extreme coastal disasters by protecting local environments and building on local knowledge, according to a report published in Science today.

And the aftermath of the Asian tsunami has given valuable insight into handling extreme coastal disasters - inevitable as the world’s coastal population is set to double by 2030 and global warming continues to exacerbate extreme weather conditions.

The research team from Australia, US, Sweden and UK, led by Dr Neil Adger of the University of East Anglia, is calling for action that builds on the existing resilience of coastal environments and communities when setting up disaster management policies to cope with cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods.



The Social-Ecological Resilience to Coastal Disasters report concludes that healthy ecosystems are much more likely to absorb the shock and provide protection from a coastal disaster than man-made structures such as sea walls or artificial reefs.

Globally 23 per cent of the world’s population (1.2 billion people) live within 100 km of the coast and this figure is likely to increase to 50 per cent in the next twenty five years as people flock to coastal cities – many these being Asian cities.

To compound this, many weather-related disasters are becoming more destructive and intense due to climate change.

The report is based on two case studies – the Asian tsunami in 2004 and the impact of severe storms in the Caribbean over the past twenty years.

The tsunami had less impact in areas where ecosystems were protected and local communities were aware of coastal hazards than those places where development went right up to the coastline.

Sand dunes, mangrove forests and coral reefs helped reduce the energy of tsunami waves in Sri Lanka by acting as natural barriers, the Stockholm Environment Institute discovered in a rapid assessment of the environmental impact of the tsunami.

In the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands have adapted to major hurricanes. The government took positive action and educated communities following two major hurricanes in 1988 and 1998 and were much more able to adapt, cope and recover from Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Traditional farming systems which integrated coffee with maize in Honduras were much better at recovering from Hurricane Mitch in 1998 than farming systems which solely grew coffee.

Dr Adger, of the Tyndall Centre at UEA, argues that maintaining resilience is the key. New scientific insights from ecologists show that natural ecosystems such as coral reefs and coastal mangrove forests can adapt to change and recover from storms and floods and still provide services of protecting the coast and absorbing pollution. But once these ecosystems are put under pressure by coastal development, they may lose their resilience.

Similarly, if communities are more resilient they are going to be able to learn from past experience and to deal with disasters better and to recover quickly.

Dr Neil Adger co author of the report said: “If we protect our coastal environment, it will protect us in times of disaster. This now appears to be true for some areas of Asia affected by the tsunami. And it will certainly be true for coasts of the future.”

Nicola Barrell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uea.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Calculating recharge of groundwater more precisely
28.02.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology offers fast peptide synthesis

28.02.2017 | Life Sciences

WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

28.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?

28.02.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>