A RECENT study of the sea defences
around the Gulf of Tonking in northern
Vietnam highlights the role of mangroves in strengthening the coastal
defences. Researchers from the
University of East Anglia, UK, and the
Mangrove Ecosystem Research Centre
in Hanoi, said that planting mangroves
on coasts is more effective
than building concrete
walls to keep floods and
storms at bay. Vietnam,
with a 3,000-km long
coastline, lies in one of the
most active tropical storm
regions in the world. Over
the past 20 years, storms
have taken the lives of
thousands of people in the
In most countries in Southeast Asia, mangroves are being destroyed to make room for shrimp farms. Mangroves stabilise the seafloor, trap sediments and reduce the angle of the seabed's, slope, which helps to minimise the energy of breaking waves, protecting existing sea walls. Besides, mangroves bring benefits to local communities. They support coastal fisheries by providing nutrients and sheltered spawning grounds among their flooded roots and branches. They also provide honey and timber.
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