ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Role of Exotic Vegetation in Coastal Protection

Casuarina ( casuarina equisetifolia L ) trees of Australian origin have been planted along Indian coasts as bioshields for protection from cyclones, tsunamis, tidal water damage, and the like. This paper reviews the ecosystem services provided by casuarina in Australia and finds no mention that coastal protection has been the primary role of this species. The data from the "super cyclone" of October 1999 that devastated 12 districts of Odisha is compared with the storm protection afforded by other native species such as mangroves and mixed cashew nut forests found along the coast. It is seen that while native vegetation provided storm protection and saved human lives, casuarina did not have such an impact. The findings question the policy of planting casuarina as storm buffers in all cyclone-prone areas irrespective of the topography.

Towards 'Green Growth'

The web version of this article corrects a few errors that appeared in the print edition. Himachal Pradesh has initiated a number of projects to tap its hydropower potential, some of which will submerge parts of protected areas. To examine the implications of moving towards "green growth", this study examines the costs and benefits to the state if two hydel power plants in which reservoirs will submerge protected areas, including sanctuaries, are not undertaken. It estimates that the gain from conservation-based growth is considerable compared to the cost of going green.

Examining the Storm Protection Services of Mangroves of Orissa during the 1999 Cyclone

The paper examines whether the mangrove forests in Kendrapada district of Orissa played any protective role during the severe cyclone that hit the state in October 1999. Using data on human casualties and damages suffered by the houses as dependent variables, and different meteorological, geophysical and socio-economic factors as independent variables, this study estimates a cyclone damage function to bring out the mitigating effects of the mangrove vegetation. The results show that mangroves did significantly reduce the occurrence of human deaths and the extent of damage to residential houses. Areas with mangrove protection are seen as having fewer fully collapsed houses and more partially collapsed houses. They are also found to have been more effective in reducing deaths than in reducing the damages to static properties.
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