Science, Tech & Environment

Burma's mangrove forests

JM says the mangrove's very shape make them a buffer against storms: the mangrove forests are a very dense forest formation where the roots are like a couple of hands with complex root systems and this allows them to catch the sediment that washes down from the river. The value is grabbing on to the new land that's coming down and preventing against erosion. And the height of the trees can be almost 20-30 feet high. More recently the mangroves are smaller because they're being cut down more. (How about in Burma itself?) There was nothing to stop the surge of the seawater that came shooting up the Delta and so people were exposed to the full force of high tides and strong winds. (Now the Burmese government were saying there were tidal waves, could the mangrove forest have prevented a tidal wave?) It certainly would've reduced the impact. I saw in southern Thailand, the areas where the mangroves were in tact suffered much less devastation. (So in Burma these mangrove forests have been replaced with shrimp and fish farms. What is the percentage that's been cleared out in Burma?) I would say about 80%, but because Burma has been cut off, the research is not as careful as in other places. (Bangladesh provides an example of a success story where people are replanting the mangroves.) Yes, it is a success story. The forests have become so productive they now support the largest population of tigers, for example.

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