Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters

Feagin, Rusty A., Mukherjee, Nibedita, Shanker, Kartik, Baird, Andrew H., Cinner, Joshua, Kerr, Alexander M., Koedam, Nico, Sridhar, Aarthi, Arthur, Rohan, Jayatissa, L.P., Lo Seen, Danny, Menon, Manju, Rodriguez, Sudarshan, Shamsuddoha, Md., and Dahdouh-Guebas, Farid (2010) Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters. Conservation Letters, 3 (1). pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

Vegetated coastal ecosystems provide goods and services to billions of people. In the aftermath of a series of recent natural disasters, including the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis, coastal vegetation has been widely promoted for the purpose of reducing the impact of large storm surges and tsunami. In this paper, we review the use of coastal vegetation as a ‘bioshield’ against these extreme events. Our objective is to alter bioshield policy and reduce the long-term negative consequences for biodiversity and human capital. We begin with an overview of the scientific literature, in particular focusing on studies published since the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and discuss the science of wave attenuation by vegetation. We then explore case studies from the Indian subcontinent and evaluate the detrimental impacts bioshield plantations can have upon native ecosystems, drawing a distinction between coastal restoration and the introduction of exotic species in inappropriate locations. Finally, we place bioshield policies into a political context, and outline a new direction for coastal vegetation policy and research.

Item ID: 10713
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: bioshields, hurricanes, tsunami, coastal vegetation, waves, Casuarina, attenuation, storm surge, disaster management, invasive species
ISSN: 1755-263X
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2010 06:45
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 34
Downloads: Total: 4
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