Research has established that mangroves can protect lives and property from storms by buffering the impacts of storm surges. However, their effects in attenuating wind velocity and providing protection from wind damage during storms are not known. This study examined whether mangroves attenuate damage from cyclonic winds and found that they provide substantial protection to properties, even relatively far away from mangroves and the coast. We devised a theoretical model of wind protection by mangroves and calibrated and applied this model using data from the 1999 cyclone in the Odisha region of India. The model predicted and quantified the actual level of damage reasonably accurately and showed that mangroves reduced wind damage to houses. The wind protection value of mangroves in reducing house damage amounted to approximately US$177 per hectare at 1999 prices. This provides additional evidence of the storm protection ecosystem services that mangroves supply in the region and an additional reason to invest in mangrove ecosystems to provide better adaptability to coastal disasters such as storms.
Keywords: India, mangroves, modelling, Odisha, simulation, storm protection, wind damage, wind direction
Saudamini, D., and A.-S. Crépin. 2013. Mangroves can provide protection against wind damage during storms. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 134:98-107.REQUEST FROM AUTHOR