Coastal Biowall (Shelter Belt) Plantation


The Tsunami that struck several Nations in the Indian Ocean on December 26,2005 destroyed the lives and livelihoods of numerous coastal communities and resulted in significant damage and destruction of property and infrastructure, and Puducherry is not escaped from the wrath of Tsunami devil. The occurrence of the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean and its devastating impact on the Indian coastline has shown that the coast is not immune to such natural disasters. The Bay of Bengal has experienced cyclones and storms that have earlier resulted in large scale human tragedies. T is only prudent that the rehabilitation efforts undertaken now, envisages such disasters in future and are designed to protect coastal communities from their impacts. There were settlements along he coastal stretches that were settlements of fisher folk and were temporary structures. The villages and human lies were saved by vegetation/ tree cover.

Tamil Nadu is no stranger tocruel tidal wave or Kadalperukku, which rises without warning to swallow up great empire

Coastal Zone

The term coast will be used for as strip of land the relief forms of which have been created by the sea at a given means level. The term coast will also be applied to the wider strip of land that retains relief forms created by the sea its former high levels. As per the International standard definition, coastal zone may be defined as the area situated at a distance of 50 m. from the sea coast and on the continental shelf. Coastal zone can be defined to include coastal waters and the adjacent shore lines strongly influenced by each other and includes Islands , traditional and international areas, salt marshes, wet lands and beaches. The land immediately behind the shore zone may be regarded as the coastal zone. It is an area characterized by rich natural resources and intensive human activities.

Among the most ecologically critical and threatened areas are, coastal wet lands and shallows especially lagoons and estuaries and their mangrove swamps. These areas provide food and shelter for waterfowl, fishes, crustaceans, mollusks including some of the world’s lucrative fisheries. Sea grass are important fish stocks. Coral reef system are important because they provide habitat for fish. Coastal wet lands and coral reefs are extremely important for protecting shore lines and coastal lines against storm waves and shore erosion. Thus, coastal zone plays a prominent role in the human life. As such, protection of such areas is the responsibility of the humanity for their sustenance of today and tomorrow.

Tsunami And Forest Trees

It was evident that those villages which were situated/located behind the tree cover irrespective of the species have saved or less damaged occurred from the impact of Tsunami. Even in Karaikal a group of men playing Tennis in the coastal court climbed up the tall tree by watching the Tsunami waves approaching them and escaped from the wreath of Tsunami.

Single row Casuarina not effective mitigation of Tsunami
Multi rows of casuarina act as effective barrier against Tsunami
Saline tolerant Coconut trees on the Tsunami site - Nagapattinam
Big casuarina trees in the shore front being uprooted due to Tsunami -Karaikal
Unaffected coconut plantation by Tsunami on the coastal sand dune - Puducherry
Palmyra palm affected by aline water during Tsunami - Puducherry
Odyan (Odinaodien) tree in Tsunami hit place but not a hard wood species

Tsunami And Coastal Protection Of Mangroves

Mangroves are called land builders and considered to be as savior of property and lives. The villages which were located behind the mangroves were saved from the cyclone or suffer less damaged due to cyclone has been well documented. Even during the 2000 super cyclone which struck Orissa coast lot of lives and properties were saved by mangroves. And during the 2005 Tsunami those villages which were located behind the mangroves have escaped from the wreath of Tsunami and also people has got sufficient protection against Tsunami, even they could get some time to escape from the death trap. School children and people caught hold of mangrove props and hide behind the mangrove escaped . it has been evident that compared to the forest villages which were situated behind the mangroves suffered less damage that those in the mangrove front in Pitchavaram and Muthupet areas. In Pondicherry in the Ariyankuppam mangroves protect the drifting of boats to far-off places.

Dreadful Experience And Suggestions Of Tsunami Survivors

Actions that saved lives, and actions that cost lives, as recounted by eyewitnesses to the tsunami from the largest earthquake ever measured—the magnitude 9.5 earthquake in Chile on May 22, 1960 . In interviews several decades later, people in Chile , Hawaii , and Japan recall the tsunami

Their Accounts Contain Lessons On Tsunami Survival

  • Many Will Survive the Earthquake
  • Heed Natural Warnings
  • Heed Official Warnings
  • Expect Many Waves
  • Head for High Ground and Stay There
  • Abandon Belongings
  • Don’t Count on the Roads
  • Go to an Upper Floor or Roof of a Building
  • Climb a Tree
  • Climb onto Something that Floats
  • Expect the Waves to Leave Debris
  • Expect Quakes to Lower Coastal Land

Climb A Tree

As a last resort, climb up a strong tree if trapped on low ground.

At least a dozen people near Maullín , Chile , survived the 1960 Chilean tsunami by climbing trees. However, others perished when the trees they climbed were toppled by the tsunami.

Ramón Ramírez, 15 years old at the time of the tsunami, survived by climbing into the branches of a cypress tree (photo at right) on a plain west of Maullín. While Mr. Ramírez stayed safely in the cypress, the waters of the tsunami swirled about the tree. The water crested at 15 feet above sea level, reaching several feet above the tree’s base.

In nearby Quenuir, at the mouth of the Río Maullín, Estalino Hernández climbed an arrayán tree to escape the tsunami’s waves. While he clung to the tree, the waters of the tsunami rose to his waist. Not far away, the onrushing water covered land 30 feet above sea level. Although Mr. Hernández survived the tsunami, he lost his 13-year-old son to the waves.

Inland from Quenuir, a pregnant María Vera and eight others climbed a peta tree on a low plain north of the Río Maullín. Throughout the night, water surged beneath them, scouring sandy ground nearby.

Areas Identified For Creation Of Mangroves

In Puducherry region the back waters of Pudukkuppancheri, Pannittittu, Nallavadu, Chunnambar and Thengaithittu villages are having potential for planting different mangrove species. Similarly, the following villages of Karaikal regions Arasalar river mouth provide ample scope for introduction of massive mangrove plantation.

Description Of Project Area

The Coastal areas in Puducherry and Karaikal are susceptible to cyclones periodically, but most of the coastal areas are not having sufficient tree cover. Earlier the coastline of Union Territory used to have a mangrove cover but over the years, due to increased biotic interference almost entire natural coastal vegetation has been lost and at present not more than 50% of the coast line has any tree cover. The project intends at providing shelter belt protection to coastal area of Puducherry and mangrove afforestation in the following area of Ariyankuppam, Pannittittu, Nallavadu, Chunnambar and Thengaithittu villages and Karaikal in Arasalar river mouth.

Tsunami Triangle and Role of Shelter Belts or Bio wall

The Tsunami Triangle is to be observed, and the most important one is warning guidance. If the guidance is observed properly then most of the aftermaths can be prevented. The second hand of triangle is mitigation, this is also very important aspect how to mitigate the Tsunami. In this aspect the Tsunami survivor’s view is taken into consideration. Many survivors mentioned that they survived by climbing, holding taken shelter of etc. the Forest Department has taken into consideration while developing and designing the project.

Creation of bio wall or shelterbelt of trees and other vegetation along the coast line, mangrove in backwaters which would act as a first line defense against the effect of frequent cyclonic storms and heavy winds, and Tsunami effects. The project will provide alternative employment opportunities to the poor people in coastal areas and thereby divert them from activities which are detrimental to coastal ecology. Creation of a vegetative barrier will reduce soil erosion due to wind, waves and shifting of sand and stabilizing the coasts.

Design Of Shelter Belt & Selection Of Species

Shelter belt will be created throughout the length of coastal line. The shelterbelt is of linear multi layered and multi storied. The width of the shelter belt is 100 meters and created through out the length of the coastal areas.

Sl.No. Plantationproposed Width in mts.
1. Casuarina 50
2. Coconut 25
3. Miscellaneous spp (Thespesia, Calophyllum, Pongamia, 25

The linear shelter belt will have 50 rows of casuarina trees for a width of 50 mts facing sea, 4 rows of coconut at center for 25 mts, 25 mts with miscellaneous trees in the landward side.. The idea of the design is to offer tough resistance to the wind and heavy tidal wave action like Tsunami, the tidal wave velocity and force is broken and thereby the effect is mitigated. . The broad designs have been indicated above, however, may be suitably modified for effective implementation according to site conditions.

Harvesting And Sharing Benefits

The shelter belts raised in the coastal lands will be protected by the Forest Department itself and so there is no question of sharing the revenue as the main aim of the programme is to protect the coast against vagary of nature. The plantations will be maintained permanently as shelter belts for ever. However the usufruct benefits like the Non forest Produce(NTFP) such as coconut fruit, seeds from the Pongamia, Punnai and flower from the Punnai and Thespesia can be harvested by the villagers by non destructive methods.

Nursery, And Plantation Training To Fisher Women

The entry point activity mainly focus on winning the heart of local villages is priority the shelter belt by assisting them developing community assets and infrastructure in the villages. In this the local village folks were taught about the goodness of growing trees around their households to guard against the vagary of natural calamities. The fisher women were trained in nursery management and extended helping hand with monetary benefit for raising seedlings and the seedlings were bought back for coastal shelterbelt plantation in

Mutual Obligations And Responsibilities

The village panchayat (of fishermen) will assist the Forest Department in protecting the shelter belt plantation. The responsibilities of Village fisher women folk is in watering the plants, mulching, manuring and guard against cattle damage. Educating the villagers about the benefits of shelter belts and their survival depends on survival the of the green wall the fisher women actively engaged in plantation and maintenance activities for which they have been paid from the Government fund.

Tsunami And Thorny Bushes

It was reported that during Tsunami when the waves are retreating many people were dragged into the sea. While dragging many human beings were caught and trapped in the thorny bushes especially Prosopisjuliflora and succumbed to serious injuries and they could not come out of the bush and died. Hence the removal of thorny bushes are imperative.

Creation Of Water Holes

Watering the plants is a must to ensure survival in the harsh coastal environment. The water holes have been created all along the coastal sites to facilitate the fisherwomen folk for easy access to the water point.


The coastal environment is a very hostile and fragile environment .so raising of plantation in the alien environment is very difficult and the added problem is the cattle menace. To ensure survival of the plantation fencing is a must and it was done with bamboo thatch materials. This fence is economic and can with stand till the plantation established.
Miscellaneous tree seedlings Pongan, Punnai, Thespesia

Constraints In Implementing Shelterbelt Plantation

  • in experience fisherwomen folk
  • unwilling to attend the programme
  • quick relief/from the Govt and NGOs
  • non remunerative compared to selling fish
  • morelabour compare to fish sellingv
  • many SHGs and less money
  • non availability of fencing material
  • delayed land survey and demarcation

Community Participation

  • The ritual of team unity
  • Go to the people
  • Live among them
  • Learn from them
  • Lone them
  • Start with what they know
  • Build on what they have
  • But of the best leaders
  • When their task is accomplished
  • Their work is done
  • The people will remark
  • We have done it ourselves.

"Ancient Eastern saying"

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