IMIS | Lifewatch regional portal

You are here


[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Print this page

Island-wide coastal vulnerability assessment of Sri Lanka reveals that sand dunes, planted trees and natural vegetation may play a role as potential barriers against ocean surges
Satyanarayana, B.; Van der Stocken, T.; Rans, G.; Kodikara, K.A.S.; Ronsmans, G.; Jayatissa, L.P.; Husain, M.-L.; Koedam, N.; Dahdouh-Guebas, F. (2017). Island-wide coastal vulnerability assessment of Sri Lanka reveals that sand dunes, planted trees and natural vegetation may play a role as potential barriers against ocean surges. Global Ecology and Conservation 12: 144-157.
In: Global Ecology and Conservation. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 2351-9894; e-ISSN 2351-9894, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Bioshield; Elevation classification; Land cover; Land use; Mangrove;Tsunami; Vulnerability index map

Authors  Top 
  • Satyanarayana, B., more
  • Van der Stocken, T., more
  • Rans, G., more
  • Kodikara, K.A.S., more
  • Ronsmans, G., more
  • Jayatissa, L.P., more
  • Husain, M.-L.
  • Koedam, N., more
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F., more

    Since the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004, there have been continuous efforts to upgrade the (tsunami) early warning systems as well as their accessibility in local and regional places in South and Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the protection offered by coastal vegetation like mangroves to the people, property and physical landscape was also recognized and prioritized by both public and private authorities at various governance levels. As more than 90% of the Sri Lankan coastline is vulnerable to water-related impacts and existing bioshields like mangroves are potentially able to protect less than one-third of it, if at all they are in good condition, an attempt was made to build knowledge on the other potential natural barriers along the coast. In this context, a ca. 2 km belt of the entire coast was digitized, classified and assessed for vulnerability in relation to the existing land- use/cover. First, a visually interpreted land-use/cover map comprising 16 classes was developed using Google Earth imagery (Landsat-5, 2003). Second, based on the Global Digital Elevation Model data from the ASTER satellite, the land-use/cover map was further re-classified for elevation demarcation into waterless, run-up and flooded areas. And finally, both vulnerable and less vulnerable areas were identified by taking into account the average wave heights that the 2004 tsunami reached in the country (North: 5.5 m, South: 7 m, East: 5 m and West: 3.75 m). Among the selected areas studied, Jaffna and Kaluvanchikudy-Komari are found to be vulnerable and, Trincomalee, Yala and Puttalam are less vulnerable. While vulnerability was largely associated with the conditions devoid of natural barriers, the less vulnerable areas had mangroves, Casuarina, dense vegetation and/or sand dunes as land cover, all of which might prove effective against ocean surges. However, these land cover types should never be considered as providing full protection against the type of threats that can be expected. As the present study provides only baseline information on island-wide vulnerability of areas to water-related impacts, further investigation and validation along similar research lines are needed to establish a blueprint for future preparedness. (c) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors