Researchers say mangroves absorbed the impact of the tsunami
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) compared the death
toll from two villages in Sri Lanka that were hit by the devastating
Two people died in the settlement with dense mangrove
and scrub forest, while up to 6,000 people died in the village without
Many forests in the past were felled to build prawn farms and tourist resorts.
The IUCN said it showed that healthy ecosystems acted as natural barriers.
“It saved a lot of lives as well as properties,” said Vimukthi Weeratunga, the union’s biodiversity coordinator in Sri Lanka.
“We have carried an out ecological assessment of the
damage caused by the tsunami. In some areas the damage was very
minimal, and mangrove vegetation had played a role.”
Research has shown mangroves are able to absorb between 70-90% of the energy from a normal wave.
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