Profiling resilience and adaptation in mega deltas: a comparative assessment of the Mekong, Yellow, Yangtze, and Rhine deltas

Kuenzer, C., Heimhuber, V., Day, J., Varis, O., Bucx, T., Renaud, F. , Gaohuan, L., Tuan, V. Q., Schlurmann, T. and Glamore, W. (2020) Profiling resilience and adaptation in mega deltas: a comparative assessment of the Mekong, Yellow, Yangtze, and Rhine deltas. Ocean and Coastal Management, 198, 105362. (doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2020.105362)

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Abstract

River deltas and estuaries are disproportionally-significant coastal landforms that are inhabited by nearly 600 M people globally. In recent history, rapid socio-economic development has dramatically changed many of the World's mega deltas, which have typically undergone agricultural intensification and expansion, land-use change, urbanization, water resources engineering and exploitation of natural resources. As a result, mega deltas have evolved into complex and potentially vulnerable socio-ecological systems with unique threats and coping capabilities. The goal of this research was to establish a holistic understanding of threats, resilience, and adaptation for four mega deltas of variable geography and levels of socio-economic development, namely the Mekong, Yellow River, Yangtze, and Rhine deltas. Compiling this kind of information is critical for managing and developing these complex coastal areas sustainably but is typically hindered by a lack of consistent quantitative data across the ecological, social and economic sectors. To overcome this limitation, we adopted a qualitative approach, where delta characteristics across all sectors were assessed through systematic expert surveys. This approach enabled us to generate a comparative assessment of threats, resilience, and resilience-strengthening adaptation across the four deltas. Our assessment provides novel insights into the various components that dominate the overall risk situation in each delta and, for the first time, illustrates how each of these components differ across the four mega deltas. As such, our findings can guide a more detailed, sector specific, risk assessment or assist in better targeting the implementation of risk mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Renaud, Professor Fabrice
Authors: Kuenzer, C., Heimhuber, V., Day, J., Varis, O., Bucx, T., Renaud, F., Gaohuan, L., Tuan, V. Q., Schlurmann, T., and Glamore, W.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Ocean and Coastal Management
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0964-5691
ISSN (Online):1873-524X
Published Online:07 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Ocean and Coastal Management 198:105362
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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