Rapid logging of the mangrove forest that stretches across coastal areas in India’s southeastern state of Orissa seems to have contributed to the terrible destruction caused by an October 29 cyclone that killed at least 7,600 and affected some 15 million. The mangrove forest has traditionally protected inland areas from serious damage by cyclones and strong winds, but despite calls for its preservation, logging has escalated in recent years. According to noted Indian environmentalist Banka Behari Das, the forest depletion helped make the recent cyclone much more damaging than two previous ones that had hit the area in the past 30 years.

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