Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tree species choices critical to effective coastal bioshields

Sandhya Sekar in Injudicious site and species selection while planting 'bioshields' — plantations that protect coastlines against natural disasters — could be ecologically damaging in the long term, a study warns.

Catastrophic cyclones and a devastating tsunami over the last decade have prompted the planting of bioshields, but whether they actually work to protect the coastline remains unanswered, the study published online in February in Acta Oecologica says.

Bioshields range from pristine ecosystems of mangroves to plantations of such species as Casuarina equisetifolia or ‘whistling pine’. After the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, governments across South Asia launched large-scale planting of bioshields as part of coastal restoration efforts.

Nibedita Mukherjee and colleagues from Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, and the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, surveyed coastal districts in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and interviewed key persons involved in formulating the bioshield policy and implementing it.

The survey found a general lack of awareness about conservation laws relating to coastal forests. While India's state forest departments have traditionally planted trees along the coast since the 1950s, post-tsunami planting initiatives were taken up largely by non-governmental organisations with external funding....  

Coastal erosion at Benacre Broad, UK, shot by John Goldsmith, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK,  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

No comments: