After the Asian tsunami of December 2004 impacted South and Southeast Asia, relief workers and divers noticed that coastal areas with mangrove forests, coral reefs or sand dunes had suffered considerably less damage. It powerfully demonstrated what scientists and environmentalists had been saying for years: these formations act as a natural defence against the sea's ravages. As sea levels rise and extreme weather events intensify due to global warming, these ecosystem services -- now called the 'greenbelt effect' -- will become important elements in coping strategies for coastal regions.
"The Greenbelt Reports: Armed by Nature" looks at the many conservation challenges involving mangroves, coral reefs and sand reefs -- all under immense pressure from poverty, population growth and economic development. Filmed at a dozen locations in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- four countries worst hit by the Tsunami -- this regional documentary provides an overview of what communities, researchers and activists are now doing to balance nature conservation with human survival.