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Keywords:

  • coastal community development;
  • disaster mitigation;
  • mangrove forest;
  • poverty;
  • storm surge;
  • tsunami

Tsunamis and storm surges have killed more than one million people and some three billion people currently live with a high risk of these disasters, which are becoming more frequent and devastating worldwide. Effective mitigation of such disasters is possible via healthy coastal forests, which can reduce the energy of tsunamis. In recent years, these natural barriers have declined due to adverse human and natural activities. In the past 20 years, the world has lost almost 50 per cent of its mangrove forests, making them one of the most endangered landscapes. It is essential to recover them and to use them as a shield against a tsunami and as a resource to secure optimal socio-economic, ecological and environmental benefits. This paper examines the emerging scenario facing mangrove forests, discusses protection from tsunamis, and proposes a way to improve the current situation. We hope that practical tips will help communities and agencies to work collectively to achieve a common goal.