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 Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>