Environmental Recovery and Mangrove Conservation: Post Indian Ocean Tsunami Policy Responses in South and Southeast Asia

In Recovery from the Indian Ocean Tsunami A Ten-Year Journey
Book Chapter

The Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 was a mega-disaster that triggered massive disruption of ecological services across the South & Southeast Asian Coast. Particularly, loss of precious mangroves was some of the most discussed environmental consequence of the event. In many South & Southeast Asian countries, mangrove bio-shielded the coastal communities and saved human lives and properties, however in doing so, it also suffered irreversible damage. Importantly, the Indian Ocean Tsunami was also important event in the context of rejuvenation of an already degraded mangrove ecosystems surrounding the Indian Ocean as many countries reemphasized the protective role of mangroves and other coastal forests and developed integrated coastal zone management policies. This chapter examines the role of mangrove forests in disaster risk reduction in four most affected countries (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India & Thailand) and analyzes the policy amendments in the respective countries pertaining to mangrove conservation & restoration in the post Tsunami recovery period. The analysis was conducted based on six policy principles of mangrove conservation & restoration. It was observed that Indonesia & India responded the Tsunami event with significant amendments of its existing policies; whereas the policy responses of Sri Lanka & Thailand were not adequate to the purpose.