Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 2 Number 2 (2010)

Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management 2010 2 2

doi: 10.3850/S1793924009000169

Mitigation Effects of Forests as a Natural Shelter in the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar

Ya Min Thant1,a, Mamoru Kanzaki1,b and Maung Maung Than2
1Kyoto University, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.
2Project coordinator DFID program, British Council, Myanmar


Cyclone Nargis struck the Ayeyarwady Delta on 2 and 3 May 2008 with an intensity unprecedented in the history of Myanmar. This paper describes the cyclone’s impacts on human settlements and the role of mangrove and plantation forests in mitigating the damage. The study is based on interviews in 450 households of 28 communities in Bogale Township, Ayeyarwady Delta. Human mortality decreased with distance from the cyclone track and was significantly reduced by the presence of forest stands near or around communities. The most remarkable result is that no mortality was recorded in communities located in forest reserves with dense forest cover, even in those located in the high-mortality zone. Interviews with survivors revealed that mangrove forests functioned as a shelter from the storm surge. After the monsoon, local people clearly expressed more desire to rehabilitate mangrove forests compared to the pre-monsoon period. The importance of mangrove forests and forest rehabilitation in the Ayeyarwady Delta is discussed.

Keywords: Ayeyarwady delta, Cyclone nargis, Human mortality, Human settlements, Mangrove forest, Tree plantation.

Back to TOC