The Indian Ocean region encompasses some of the most extensive, and biodiverse, tropical coastal and marine ecosystems in the world, including mangroves and other coastal forests and wetlands, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, sand dunes, coral reefs and seagrass communities. These natural ecosystems provide essential ‘infrastructure’ for coastal development — in other words, they form a vital part of the stock of assets, facilities and services that are needed for the economy and society to function properly. In order to ensure ecosystem productivity and continued support to human development, ecosystems need to be maintained and improved to meet both today’s needs as well as future demands and pressures, just like any other component of infrastructure. Degrading this valuable stock of natural capital puts a serious strain on the economy and society.

There remains a pressing need for better coastal ecosystem restoration and conservation in areas where severe degradation has taken place, and natural processes of regeneration have been undermined. A key challenge is however to ensure that such measures are based on sound science, techniques and approaches, and are socio-economically acceptable and sustainable. This project aims to address these needs, and to rehabilitate and conserve degraded and threatened coastal ecosystems in tsunami-affected countries of the Indian Ocean, using ecologically and socio-economically sound methods.

There is a need to invest in ecosystem restoration and conservation in tsunami-affected countries because of their critical importance in both conservation and development terms.

This project responds to these needs to ensure that coastal ecosystems are conserved and restored in tsunami-affected countries.