Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Bioshields or coastal vegetation structures are currently amongst the most important coastal habitat modification activities in south-east Asia, particularly after the December 2004 tsunami. Coastal plantations have been promoted at a large scale as protection against severe natural disasters despite considerable debate over their efficacy as protection measures. In this paper, we provide an interdisciplinary framework for evaluating and monitoring coastal plantations. We then use this framework in a case study in peninsular India. We conducted a socio-ecological questionnaire-based survey on government and non-government organizations directly involved in coastal plantation efforts in three 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami affected states in mainland India. We found that though coastal protection was stated to be the primary cause, socio-economic factors like providing rural employment were strong drivers of plantation activities. Local communities were engaged primarily as daily wage labour for plantation rather than in the planning or monitoring phases. Application of ecological criteria has been undermined during the establishment and maintenance of plantations and there was a general lack of awareness about conservation laws relating to coastal forests. While ample flow of international aid has fuelled the plantation of exotics in the study area particularly after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the long term ecological consequences need further evaluation and rigorous monitoring in the future.