Status of coral reefs in tsunami-affected countries: 2005

Wilkinson, Clive, Souter, David, and Goldberg, Jeremy (2005) Status of coral reefs in tsunami-affected countries: 2005. Status of Coral Reefs of the World . Australian Institute of Marine Science; Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, Townsville.

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Abstract

The major findings of the 60 authors and contributors of this Status of Coral Reefs in Tsunami Affected Countries: 2005 were that:

On 26 December 2004, a major earthquake off Sumatra and a series of secondary earthquakes throughout the Andaman and Nicobar Islands caused many simultaneous tsunamis that radiated around the Indian Ocean;

The tsunamis arrived as huge surges of water that powered over the coral reefs to smash on the land, resulting in enormous loss of life and destruction of property;

Damage to the coral reefs in the Indian Ocean was patchy, site dependent and heavily influenced by local environmental conditions such as coastal bathymetry and damage on land and;

Most of the damage to coral reefs resulted from sediment and coral rubble thrown about by the waves, and smothering by debris washed off the land;

Coral reef damage was greatest in Indonesia, Thailand, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Sri Lanka, whereas there was little damage in countries further away from the source of the tsunamis because much of the wave energy had dissipated;

Most of the coral reefs of the region, however, escaped serious damage and will naturally recover within 5 to 10 years providing that effective management is implemented to reduce damage from human activities;

A small number of coral reefs were significantly damaged and may take 20 or more years to recover; and they may not return to the previous structure;

The major threats to the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean continue to be from human activities, such as over-fishing, deforestation and climate change. These were far more damaging to coral reefs than the tsunami;

Immediately following the tsunami, many in the local community and volunteers organised beach and reef clean up activities to minimise damage to the coral reefs from debris;

The coral reefs absorbed some of the tsunami energy, thereby possibly providing some protection to the adjacent land, however, mangroves and coastal forests afforded the most protection to infrastructure on the land and probably reduced the loss of life in these areas;

Damage to mangroves was highly variable, ranging from little damage in many areas, to the destruction of entire forests in some areas, such as Aceh province;

Seagrass beds were largely unaffected, although some areas were either eroded or smothered by sediments; and

The major recommendations call for: the establishment of an early warning system; capacity building in integrated coastal management; improved fisheries management and coral reef monitoring; the establishment of more marine protected areas; careful reparation and rehabilitation of tsunami damage; and the development of stronger national oceans policies.

Item ID: 24191
Item Type: Book (Edited)
ISSN: 1447-6185
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2012 22:36
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961006 Natural Hazards in Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960699 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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