Forests as a Tsunami Shield

Trees appear to protect seaside settlements from the worst effects of a tsunami.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM October 28, 2005

It's been a banner year for natural disasters. Tsunamis and hurricanes, in particular, have battered homes, destroyed cities, and taken thousands of lives. Areas along the oceans have been slammed especially hard.

The news isn't all gloom and doom, however. Scientists working along the southeastern coast of India have found that trees appear to protect seaside settlements from the worst effects of a tsunami.

The December 2004 tsunami knocked down casuarina trees next to the Indian Ocean but left trees farther inland—and the villages behind them—standing.

The December 2004 tsunami knocked down casuarina trees next to the Indian Ocean b...

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