Vulnerability and risk of deltaic social-ecological systems exposed to multiple hazards

Hagenlocher, M., Renaud, F. G. , Haas, S. and Sebesvari, Z. (2018) Vulnerability and risk of deltaic social-ecological systems exposed to multiple hazards. Science of the Total Environment, 631-32, pp. 71-80. (doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.013) (PMID:29524904)

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Coastal river deltas are hotspots of global change impacts. Sustainable delta futures are increasingly threatened due to rising hazard exposure combined with high vulnerabilities of deltaic social-ecological systems. While the need for integrated multi-hazard approaches has been clearly articulated, studies on vulnerability and risk in deltas either focus on local case studies or single hazards and do not apply a social-ecological systems perspective. As a result, vulnerabilities and risks in areas with strong social and ecological coupling, such as coastal deltas, are not fully understood and the identification of risk reduction and adaptation strategies are often based on incomplete assumptions. To overcome these limitations, we propose an innovative modular indicator library-based approach for the assessment of multi-hazard risk of social-ecological systems across and within coastal deltas globally, and apply it to the Amazon, Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM), and Mekong deltas. Results show that multi-hazard risk is highest in the GBM delta and lowest in the Amazon delta. The analysis reveals major differences between social and environmental vulnerability across the three deltas, notably in the Mekong and the GBM deltas where environmental vulnerability is significantly higher than social vulnerability. Hotspots and drivers of risk vary spatially, thus calling for spatially targeted risk reduction and adaptation strategies within the deltas. Ecosystems have been identified as both an important element at risk as well as an entry point for risk reduction and adaptation strategies.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The research is part of the international Belmont Forum project BF-DELTAS “Catalyzing action toward sustainability of deltaic systems with an integrated modeling framework for risk assessment”. UNU-EHS was funded in part by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (Grant no.RE 3554/1-1).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Renaud, Professor Fabrice
Authors: Hagenlocher, M., Renaud, F. G., Haas, S., and Sebesvari, Z.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Journal Name:Science of the Total Environment
ISSN (Online):1879-1026
Published Online:07 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Science of The Total Environment 631-632: 71-80
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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