The reduction effects of mangrove forest on a tsunami based on field surveys at Pakarang Cape, Thailand and numerical analysis

Hideaki Yanagisawa, Shunichi Koshimura, Kazuhisa Goto, Toyohiko Miyagi, Fumihiko Imamura, Anat Ruangrassamee, Charlchai Tanavud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)


Using an integrated approach including satellite imagery analysis, field measurements, and numerical modeling, we investigated the damage to mangroves caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami at Pakarang Cape in Pang Nga Province, Thailand. Comparing pre- and post-tsunami satellite imagery of the study area, we found that approximately 70% of the mangrove forest was destroyed by the tsunami. Based on field observations, we found that the survival rate of mangroves increased with increasing stem diameter. Specifically, we found that 72% of Rhizophora trees with a 25-30 cm stem diameter survived the tsunami impact, whereas only 19% with a 15-20 cm stem diameter survived. We simulated the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami using the nonlinear shallow-water wave theory to reproduce the tsunami inundation flow and investigated the bending moment acting on the mangrove trees. Results of the numerical model showed that the tsunami inundated areas along the mangrove creeks, and its current velocity reached 5.0 m s-1. Based on the field measurements and numerical results, we proposed a fragility function for mangroves, which is the relationship between the probability of damage and the bending stress caused by the maximum bending moment. We refined the numerical model to include the damage probability of mangrove forests using the obtained fragility function to investigate the tsunami reduction effect of mangrove forest. Under simple numerical conditions related to the mangrove forest, ground level, and incident wave, the model showed that a mangrove forest of Rhizophora sp. with a density of 0.2 trees m-2 and a stem diameter of 15 cm in a 400 m wide area can reduce the tsunami inundation depth by 30% when the incident wave is assumed to have a 3.0 m inundation depth and a wave period of 30 min at the shoreline. However, 50% of the mangrove forest is destroyed by a 4.5 m tsunami inundation depth, and most of the mangrove forest is destroyed by a tsunami inundation depth greater than 6 m. The reduction effect of tsunami inundation depth decreased when the tsunami inundation depth exceeded 3 m, and was mostly lost when the tsunami inundation depth exceeded 6 m.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 1


  • Thailand
  • damage
  • mangroves
  • mitigation
  • numerical model
  • tsunamis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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