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Mangrove Forest An Environmentally Friendly Tsunami Barrier

Updated on November 17, 2011

Mangrove Forest

Mangrove forest is one type of rainforest that can be found growing around the tidal area in the tropical region. It is now considered as the best natural barrier that can reduce the power and speed of tsunami waves around the islands in tropical region. Mangrove trees belong to the genus Rhizophora. For thousands of years they have played important role in marine ecosystem. They provide food, safe shelter to small fish and crabs and have become a hunting ground for human who come to catch the fish and the crabs. Birds and mammals such as Cuscus can often be found living in the mangrove forests particularly in southern coast of bird's head region in the tropical island of New Guinea.

Numfor has a long line of beautiful beaches that is very potential to become destinations for world travelers.
Numfor has a long line of beautiful beaches that is very potential to become destinations for world travelers.

Tsunami Waves in Japan

All of us have watched the biggest natural disasters in Japan this month, 9 richter scale earthquake and huge Tsunami waves. The Tsunami has been the biggest threat to human coastal civilization. The Japanese actually had a lot of experience about tsunami. They had built tsunami barriers made of concrete to prevent their towns and cities from being eliminated by the powerful sea waves. Unfortunately, the recent tsunami waves that hit the eastern coast cities and towns in Japan were higher the the barriers and able to sweep or destroy everything which they passed.

Numfor people rely on nature to protect them

A few days ago, I went to Numfor island with four tourists from Czech republic. We stayed there for four nights. We visited the coastal areas around the tropical island. The native Papuan people who live in the Numfor know that their island is quite flat. It does not have high mountains. Huge sea earthquakes may happen and create tsunami anytime in the future. The Numforese do not have a lot of money to construct concrete walls for protecting their villages from the tsunami. They do not have any choices other than fully relying on nature to protect them.

Mangrove trees protect coastal water, and provide safe shelter to marine animals.
Mangrove trees protect coastal water, and provide safe shelter to marine animals.

Reforestation of Numfor waters with Mangrove Trees

From years of observation and local wisdoms which they had received from their ancestors, the indigenous people in Numfor island carried out massive reforestation of their shorelines with mangrove seedlings. They hope that these seedlings will become big trees that are able to reduce the power of tsunami that may hit their island anytime in the future. Twenty years from now, the coastal waters in the northern area of Numfor island will be covered with new mangrove forest from Kornasoren village, to Yemburo and Rarsibo villages. In addition, mangrove trees have big roots that are able to protect the land from erosion.
Besides protecting the villages from tsunami and preventing the lowland from sea erosion, the new mangrove forest will also become a new food resource. Among the roots of the mangrove trees, villagers can catch crabs, fish and sea shells. Coastal areas that are covered by mangrove forest, the percentage of fish stock is very high. Small fish find mangrove trees as their shelters that can protect themselves from their natural predators.

Mangrove seedling are now growing in the north coast of Numfor island.
Mangrove seedling are now growing in the north coast of Numfor island.

Indonesia - a country in the ring of fire region

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of more than seventeen thousand islands. It is located between Asia and Australia in a region that is called ring of fire. There are a lot of volcanoes and tectonic activities in the ring of fire region making this country very vulnerable to be hit by volcano eruption and tectonic earthquakes. The decision of the indigenous Papuan people in Numfor island is the wisest decision which they have ever made to protect their villages from natural disasters and to continue living in harmony with their surrounding marine environment. As lowland rainforest, mangrove trees give significant contribution in absorbing CO2 gases that we emit every day in our daily life running motorcycles, cars and room heaters and at the same time maintain the diversity of wildlife in the coastal region. by Charles Roring

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    • jeremytorres profile image

      jeremytorres 

      7 years ago

      Yeah! I agree that mangrove is such a perfect tsunami barrier.

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