[extropy-chat] Confirmed: Trees DO protect against tsunami waves
pharos at gmail.com
Sat Oct 29 23:25:29 UTC 2005
About 276,000 people died during the titanic Indian Ocean tsunami of
Dec. 26, 2004. Like the human toll, the physical damage was beyond
counting. But here's a glimmer of hope amid the devastation: Nature
can reduce the damage of a horrific natural disaster. Thick stands of
trees along India's shore slowed the massive waves and reduced the
damage to villages further inland.
A study in this week's (Oct. 28, 2005) Science magazine shows that
trees soaked up energy from the huge waves. When an international
group of researchers examined land along the coast, they found that
trees offered serious protection from the surge of water.
Although it's uncertain if the trees reduced the overall height of
the flood, Danielsen says they certainly slowed the floodwaters. The
trees also blocked floating logs, buildings and cars, which, in many
places, destroyed houses and killed victims trapped in the
Trees = Life-savers?
The forests had a third benefit. In many places, the receding water
pulled people to their death. But behind the trees, Danielsen says,"
When the waves went out, many people were able to cling to the trees
and not get taken out to sea. We have no doubt that a lot of people
survived because they were able to grab the trees and not get taken
out to sea."
Mangroves are dense stands of trees that are adapted to life in
tropical, coastal wetlands. An estimated 26 percent of mangroves have
been destroyed around the Indian Ocean through conversion to farm
fields, aquaculture ponds, or from other causes, exposing the coast to
The study also found that beach forest trees that had been planted to
protect against typhoons (as hurricanes are called in the region)
helped protect land.
So the conclusion is: -
If you chop all the trees down to make money on coastal development
with nice sea views, then you had better cash in quick and get your
profits out before the next hurricane, storm surge or tsunami comes
along and wipes it all away.
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