On December 26, 2004, a cataclysmic tsunami struck the coasts of countries in South and Southeast Asia.
Sri Lanka was one of the worst affected nations — the wall of water devastated the island’s southern and eastern coasts. However, the tsunami’s impact was uneven with some places suffering far more damage than others.
Scientists assessing the landscape after the disaster discovered that some areas which emerged relatively unscathed were protected not by sophisticated warning systems or barriers — but by their ancient mangrove forests.
Mangroves are trees which — unlike almost all other plants — thrive in saltwater. Sri Lanka is a mangrove hotspot with 22 species flourishing along its coasts, deltas and lagoons. In 2015, Sri Lanka announced that it would protect all of its mangroves — the first country to make that declaration.
The tsunami experience wasn’t the only factor in the decision. Mangrove forests help to create healthy seas because they act as nurseries for fish, prawns, crabs and other marine animals that breed among the trees’ stilt-like roots.
Source – NewsWire (www.newswire.lk)