Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tsunami Balm?

In a similar vein to yesterday's post, today the ISW presents another dilemma that pits the problems of invasive species against the needs and desires of humans.

The Indian environmental journal Down to Earth has an interesting article asking whether it is smart to be planting trees and shrubs to act as barriers against tsunamis and other storm action. Many of these "bioshields" are being created from monoculture plantations of Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), a known invasive species. Scientists want to take a step back and approach the protection of the shoreline by examining the coastline more closely, and as the article notes, native species and natural barriers such as sand dunes can also effective at dampening the effect of wave action. However, the government insists that this approach is not practical with so much of the coastline already developed, and will proceed planting trees "wherever we find land."

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