Mixed forests protect coastal areas from tsunami impacts better than monoculture forests, finds study

By Yokohama National University
January 5, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Great East Japan Earthquake tsunami in 2011 damaged a total of 2,800 hectares of coastal forest. While the damage was immense, the devastation provided an opportunity to study which coastal forests withstood the tsunami impact and why some forests fared better than others. The forests can only mitigate tsunami effects if trees remain intact during the tsunami. Recently, scientists from Yokohama National University discovered that coastal forests that contained mixed tree species bore the tsunami forces better and with less damage than monoculture forests made up exclusively of black pine. The research team published their findings in the journal Natural Hazards. …The study also found a benefit in complex tree planting arrangements compared to simple arrangements. Analysis of the visual impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake tsunami suggests that forests with complex spatial structures were more able to withstand tsunami forces.

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