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Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters
Mukherjee, N.; Feagin, R.A.; Shanker, K.; Baird, A.H.; Cinner, J.; Kerr, A.M.; Koedam, N.; Sridhar, A. (2010). Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters, in: 24th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB 2010) - 3-7 July, Edmonton (Alberta), Canada. pp. 169
In: (2010). 24th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB 2010) - 3-7 July, Edmonton (Alberta), Canada. Society for Conservation Biology (SCB): Edmonton. 277 pp., more

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Document types: Conference paper; Summary

Authors  Top 
  • Mukherjee, N., more
  • Feagin, R.A.
  • Shanker, K.
  • Baird, A.H.
  • Cinner, J.
  • Kerr, A.M.
  • Koedam, N., more
  • Sridhar, A.

Abstract
    Vegetated coastal ecosystems are known to provide myriad ecosystem services to billions of people globally. However, in the aftermath of a series of recent natural disasters, including the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis, coastal vegetation has been singularly promoted as a protection measure against 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 investigate the long-term consequences of rapid plantation of bioshields on local 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. We draw a clear distinction between coastal restoration and the introduction of exotic species in inappropriate locations in the name of coastal protection. We conclude by placing existing bioshield policies into a larger socio-political context and outline a new direction for coastal vegetation policy and research.

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