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Environmental lessons from tsunami as world's coastal population doubles

of the tsunami.

In the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands have adapted to major hurricanes. The government took positive action and educated communities following two major hurricanes in 1988 and 1998 and were much more able to adapt, cope and recover from Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Traditional farming systems which integrated coffee with maize in Honduras were much better at recovering from Hurricane Mitch in 1998 than farming systems which solely grew coffee.

Dr Adger, of the Tyndall Centre at UEA, argues that maintaining resilience is the key. New scientific insights from ecologists show that natural ecosystems such as coral reefs and coastal mangrove forests can adapt to change and recover from storms and floods and still provide services of protecting the coast and absorbing pollution. But once these ecosystems are put under pressure by coastal development, they may lose their resilience.

Similarly, if communities are more resilient they are going to be able to learn from past experience and to deal with disasters better and to recover quickly.

Dr Neil Adger co author of the report said: "If we protect our coastal environment, it will protect us in times of disaster. This now appears to be true for some areas of Asia affected by the tsunami. And it will certainly be true for coasts of the future."


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Source:University of East Anglia


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