Memories of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Damrey, which struckcoastal areas of northern and eastern Vietnam in 2005, are stillfresh in Pham Thi Tuyen s mind. The cyclone was (the most) powerful, dreadful and cataclysmicevent I had ever witnessed in my life, recalls the 37-year-oldrice paddy farmer. But Tuyen and other residents of rural Thanh Hoa province feel moreconfident about withstanding future storms, thanks to a projectthat takes advantage of the coastal protection offered by mangroveforests. In the hours before Typhoon Damrey hit in September 2005, withwinds of 100 km per hour (60 miles per hour), nearly 300,000 peoplewere evacuated from the coastal areas of Thanh Hoa and Nam Dinhprovinces. We had no choice but to flee for our lives to higher ground,leaving behind everything, including our cattle, recalled Pham,who lives in the remote coastal community of Da Loc, in easternThanh Hoa province, about 175 km (110 miles) south of Hanoi, thecapital.
A storm surge ripped apart 3.7 km (2.3 miles) of dykes in front ofher village and inundated most of the district s coastalcommunities, including agricultural fields, fruit orchards andcattle farms. But in Da Loc community, one protective dyke, 1.7 km (1 mile) inlength, survived the cyclone because it was buffered by thickmangrove forest. This was when we realised how stubbornly the mangroves canwithstand tropical cyclones like Damrey, said Vu Xuan Ngoc, a33-year old fish farmer. This was a key lesson nature taughtus. Following Typhoon Damrey and an increasing number of cyclones thathave affected Vietnam in the last five years, a number ofinternational non-governmental organisations have begun working indisaster-prone coastal areas of Vietnam, building on evidence thatmangroves can play a crucial role in reducing the destruction fromcyclones.
A wave s energy can be reduced by 75 percent if it passes through200 metres of mangrove forest, according to the United NationsEnvironmental Programme. CARE International, a non-governmental organisation working inVietnam, has launched a project to help Da Loc and other adjoiningcommunes re-establish mangrove forests as living stormbarriers , said Nguyen Viet Nghi, a senior official at theorganisation s Vietnam project office. Quoting from a project report, Nguyen said that in Hau Locdistrict, where Da Loc is situated, the area of coastal land whichhas mangrove coverage has increased from 15 hectares (37 acres) tomore than 250 hectares (620 acres). The mangrove strip is now nearly 3 km (2 miles) long and 700 metreswide, with more than 2,000 plants per hectare. More than 6,000people in the six project areas of Thanh Hoa province, along with afurther 2,300 people in adjoining project areas, are now betterprotected against the effects of flooding as a result of themangroves. Smart Car Turbocharger
Da Loc is one of six coastal communities of Thanh Hoa provinceconsidered highly vulnerable to frequent storm surges, sea levelrise, intrusion of salt water and drought, all of which areexpected to become more serious threats as a result of changes inthe climate and an increase in extreme weather events. According to the Southern Institute for Water Resources Researchin Vietnam, Vietnam has witnessed a 0.5 to 0.7 degrees Celsius risein temperature over the past 50 years. The institute says that rainfall has become more erratic and hasincreased by 10 percent in the northern part of the country, andthat the sea level has risen by 20 cm (8 inches) over the same50-year period, with an anticipated increase of a further 100 cm(39 inches) by 2100. According to Nguyen, the rapid establishment of the mangroveplantations is due to the active participation of localcommunities. Members of the six communes in Hau Loc districtcollectively run mangrove nurseries, selecting and sourcing seedsrecommended for the area s varied local conditions, which caninclude muddy soils or sandy seabed. Mercedes Benz Turbo Kits
Community members also prepare and plant the mangroves in the newareas. For example, where CARE has provided training, the communityhas taken responsibility for sustaining the mangrove plantations. Experiences in Vietnam s coastal communes show the value andadvantages of (communities) sharing control over key decisions andresources, said Rolf Herno, CARE International s coordinator foradaptation learning projects in Africa . This enables communities to be powerful actors in the fight againstpoverty and adaptation to climate change, he added. China Turbocharger Repair Kit
Farming is the major source of income for coastal communities suchas Da Loc. Nevertheless, the mangrove forests are offeringcommunities an opportunity to diversify their livelihoods andincrease the number of ways they are able to earn an income. The project has incorporated plans to help residents diversifytheir income sources, in recognition of the fact that people incoastal areas need different livelihood options to help them buildup long-term resilience to the impacts of climate change. Giving local people additional possibilities for income generationwas also important to help reduce their reliance on the mangrovesas a source of wood for fuel or sale, Nguyen said. Bui Thi Din, chairwoman of Yen Loc village women s union in DaLoc, said that due to the increasing mangrove coverage, coastalcommunities living standards had improved significantly as theywere now able to earn additional income by catching and sellingcrabs and shrimp that live among the mangrove roots.
Pham Thi Tuyen said that the project has helped her appreciate thedifferent ways in which mangroves can protect and support her.Previously, I just knew it was simply a [mangrove] forest and hadno idea what was in the forest, she said. But now I know better how to find clamshells, small crabs,mussels, oysters and shrimps to generate additional income for myfamily from these forests, she said. Chief executive of the Climate and Development KnowledgeNetwork, Sam Bickersteth, said lessons learned from community-basedadaptation interventions in Vietnam can be replicated in otherparts of the world. There is a strong need to carry forward these proven experiencesto other coastal areas of Asia-Pacific countries, Africa and otherparts of the world where denudation of mangrove forests has exposedthe countries of these regions to tropical cyclones and otherclimate change-induced risks, he said.