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

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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.

Data used in the analysis was collected for the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics project “Economic Valuation of Storm Protection Function: A Case Study of Mangrove Forest of Orissa, India” and help received from Priya Shyamsunder and Pranab Mukhopadhyay is gratefully acknowledged. I express gratefulness to Jeff Vincent, Kanchan Chopra and K L Krishna for their suggestions, Sushil Kumar Dash and Charan Singh for clarifying the meteorological theories and making the meteorological information available and to emergency officers of Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur districts of Orissa for information on cyclone damages.

 

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