By using an integrated approach, tsunami affected land, vegetation and inhabitants were assessed to evaluate the potential to restore and protect coastal land in the context of Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism in Hambantota district in the south-eastern part of Sri Lanka. Firstly, assessments of the status of the tsunami affected area were carried out by collecting soil and well water samplings for carbon and salinity analysis. Secondly, identification of potential tree species for carbon sequestration and sustainable development was conducted to determine carbon stock and suitability to grow under the prevailing conditions. In addition, interviews to understand the local people's perception of forest plantations and land use were conducted. The results showed that the resilience process of salt intruded lands from the 2004 Asian tsunami has progressed rapidly with low salinity level in the soils 14 months after the event, while the well water showed evidence of salinity contamination. The carbon stock was highest in natural forests followed by coconut plantations. Land users could envision expanding their present plantations or establish new ones. The barriers were defined as lack of financial investment capital and limited land for extended plantations. If a Clean Development Mechanism project is to be established, the coconut tree was found to be the most appropriate tree species since it has high carbon content, had co-benefits and possesses a salt-tolerant characteristic. Finally, the tsunami event has triggered land users to perceive environmental benefits of protection from mangrove or other adequate vegetation such as coconut plantations as welcome and desired to decrease their vulnerability. The assessment of multi-functionality of forest plantations, such as small-scale community based Clean Development Mechanism, its generated income from carbon credits as well as the wish for environmental protection should be considered to increase the attractiveness of plantation projects in the coastal areas.
Ocean & Coastal Management – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2009
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