Forestry and livelihoods
Millions of farmers and fisher folk in coastal areas have been affected by the tsunami which swept the Southeast Asian region in late December. The livelihoods and economic basis of many coastal communities were partially or completely destroyed. Rebuilding these livelihoods is one of the main challenges once the initial phase of emergency relief is over.
A large number of the farmers and fisher folk are directly or indirectly dependent on mangroves, coastal forests, agroforestry, home gardens, shelterbelts, urban plantings and trees in the coastal landscape for their livelihoods. Forests and trees contribute directly by providing wood and non-wood forest products - including construction lumber, wood products and thatch, poles, fuelwood, food and medicines - and indirectly by providing shelter and shade. Additionally mangroves provide spawning grounds and nutrients for fish and shellfish and coastal forests are haven for a wide diversity of flora and fauna.
FAO assessment teams together with other UN agencies and national governments are currently evaluating the damage and rehabilitation needs in fisheries, agriculture, forestry and rural development. This will assist in defining appropriate interventions to support people in restoring their lives and livelihoods.