The countries affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami contain the most diverse and extensive coral reefs and mangroves of the Indian Ocean, and some of the richest in the world. A recent report by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) and IUCN emphasizes that not only are these ecosystems among the most threatened in the world, they also provide numerous essential ecosystem services (UNEP-WCMC, 2006).
It is thus not surprising that reefs and mangroves received widespread attention after the tsunami, with three principal questions posed: Are the tsunami's impacts on reefs and mangroves a further threat to their future survival? Did reefs and mangroves play a role in shoreline protection and reduce structural damage and human mortality? How could reconstruction efforts include actions to maintain these ecosystems and reduce further threats to them?
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