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How to protect lowlands from tsunami

Updated on November 20, 2011

Protection of Lowland areas from Possible Tsunami Disaster

The tsunami that hit the coastal area in the eastern region of Japan in March 2011 has raised questions among people living near the sea to whether their cities or towns are ready to face similar natural disaster. The big waves that hit Japan destroyed everything. Man-made tsunami barriers from concrete materials are now being constructed in most coastal towns and cities as a way to face tsunami.

Concrete blocks to stop big waves are expensive to be made. Unfortunately, not all of the human settlements in the coastal region in the Pacific Ocean are rich enough to build such an expensive concrete wall construction. In order to survive, they return to nature to find protection for their villages. Such protection is provided by beach plants.

Mangrove Forest in Numfor island
Mangrove Forest in Numfor island

The reforestation of lowland and tidal areas in Numfor island

Learning from what happened in Japan, people in Numfor, one of the small islands in the Geelvink bay of New Guinea tried to create natural tsunami barries by planting mangrove trees along their tidal ground. The terrain of the island is flat. Coconut, barringtonia, catappa trees grow on the dry ground of the island. Some parts of the tidal region in Numfor are covered with mangrove trees. The reforestation project was financed by the local government of Biak-Numfor regency but executed by the islanders themselves. Concrete wave barriers were also constructed along the beach of Yemburwo village but they would be too low for protecting the village from tsunami.

Environmental Benefits

The reforestation of the tidal areas around Numfor island in the future will bring a lot of positive environmental benefits for the islanders due to increase in food stocks. Mangrove foreststops the salt water intrusion, provides safe shelter to fish and small marine animals and becomes the breeding ground for tropical birds. People in Numfor island have chosen the sustainable way to protect their island. As a result, mother nature in the wetlands of Numfor island will give them more fish, shrimp and crab catches, better air quality, and abundant firewood.

The coral reef that thrive around the Numfor island is an integral marine ecosystem with the mangrove forest. When the seedlings from the reforestation project become adult trees, they will be able to release more fish back into the coral reef. Numfor's underwater world that is rich in biodiversity will attract tourists who like snorkeling and scuba diving to visit the island.

Indonesia as the most mangrove rich country in the world should reforest the tidal areas in its islands with mangrove trees again as the cheapest way to protect their lowland from possible tsunami disaster.

Case Study from Yemburwo Village

The seedlings of mangrove trees that were planted at the beach front of Yemburwo village in 2009 are now growing well. On the average, their heights have reached 1 to 1.5 meters or even more. Adult mangrove trees can reach 7 or even 10 meters, powerful enough to reduce the power of tsunami. Trees in tropical region grow faster than in sub-tropic regions. Young mangrove trees absorb a lot of CO2 gases during their growth period. This is good for our environment that is now experiencing global warming.

Interested in traveling to Numfor?

To visit Numfor, you need to fly from your country to one of the major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Denpasar or Manado. After that, you can take a domestic flight to Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province in New Guinea island. There are some national airlines that provide flights to Manokwari. Some of them are the Batavia Air, Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air and Express Air. From Manokwari, you can go directly to Numfor by small plane operated by Susi Air - the cost is Rp. 260,000 or approximately 30 US dollars per passenger. The cheapest way to go to Numfor from Manokwari is by ferry boat. The price of the ticket is Rp. 40,000 (around 4.6 US dollars).

Ecotourism Promotion for Numfor island

I have been promoting Numfor island as part of my ecotourism program since 2010. Tourists who visit this beautiful tropical island can enjoy snorkeling, birdwatching, fishing and even cycling. The main goal for the promotion of ecotourism for Numfor islands and other parts of West Papua is to provide jobs to the indigenous Papuan people so that they will not be tempted to destroy their nature to make money. With this ecotourism, the local people will preserve their environment and still earn reasonable income for feeding their families and sending their children to school.

In my personal conclusion, the reforestation of lowland areas of Numfor island with mangrove trees will bring a lot of environmental and economic benefits to the people living in the island. by Charles Roring


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    • charlesroring profile image

      charlesroring 6 years ago

      If your town is located in the coastal region, you can inform the local authority to consider allocating the town's 2012 budget for reforestation of the tidal ground with mangrove trees. It will not be an expensive project.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 6 years ago from India

      Very useful and interesting article. You have gathered all the required information over here, related to the topic How to protect lowlands from tsunami. Thanks for this informative Hub :) Rated UP...

    • charlesroring profile image

      charlesroring 6 years ago

      You are right Seeker7. We need to appreciate our nature and try to restore it so that it can bring positive benefits to us.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      A very interesting comment and one that shows the devastation of a Tsunami on both people and the environment. I think it's a wonderful idea to use nature to protect people, wildlife and the ecosystems from nature.

      Excellent hub + voted up!