|Researchers at RIHN|
|AIBA MASAHIRO||Specially Assistant Professor|
|NAKAI Minami||Research Associate|
|SENDA Masako||Research Associate|
|SHIMAUCHI Risa||Research Associate|
|ITO Takafumi||Research Associate|
|AKIYAMA Yuki||The University of Tokyo|
|FUKAMACHI Katsue||Kyoto University|
|FURUTA Naoya||Taisho University / IUCN|
|HASHIMOTO Shizuka||The University of Tokyo|
|ICHINOSE Tomohiro||Keio University|
|MIYOSHI Iwao||Kyoto Prefectural University|
|NISHIDA Takaaki||Kyoto Sangyo University|
|NISHIHIRO Jun||National Institute for Environmental Studies|
|SAITO Osamu||United Nations University|
|SHIBASAKI Ryosuke||The University of Tokyo|
|SHOUJI Tarou||Toho University|
|TAKI Kentaro||The University of Shiga Prefecture|
|UEHARA Misato||Shinshu University|
|URASHIMA Hiroko||MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc.|
Globally, the rate of natural disaster occurrence has been increasing, partly due to contemporary climate change, and adaptation to natural disaster risks is increasingly important to the sustainability of human societies. At the same time, many societies are experiencing shrinking populations. Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) takes advantage of the multi-functionality of ecosystems and biodiversity, including their capacity to mitigate natural disasters while providing multiple ecosystem services, and population decline provides ample opportunity for implementing Eco-DRR. Our project will develop practical solutions for implementation of Eco-DRR by visualizing natural disaster risks, evaluating multi-functionality of Eco-DRR solutions, conducting transdisciplinary scenario analysis, examining traditional and local knowledge of disaster risk reduction, and collaborating with the insurance industry and other sectors.
Figure 1 Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction not only lowers disaster risks but also enhances benefits of ecosystem services by reducing the exposure of human activities in high-hazard locations and supporting human activities in low-hazard locations.
Climate change impacts natural and human systems, and is projected to intensify in the future. Our project focuses on reducing risk and developing management strategies related to natural disasters. The risk of natural disasters results from the interaction between a climate-related hazard, and the exposure and vulnerability of human activities (Fig. 1), so that adaptation to natural disaster risk can be realized by reducing exposure (e.g. by improving land use) and vulnerability to hazards.
Hard-engineering natural disaster countermeasures have target safety levels, below which natural disasters can be prevented. Although these countermeasures are effective if the hazard level of natural disaster is below the target safety level, we are increasingly faced with situations in which hazard levels exceed safety levels, resulting in devastating natural disasters. Eco-DRR approaches focus on lowering the exposure of human activities to natural hazards, so reducing, if not preventing, associated losses and damages. Eco-DRR approaches, meanwhile, take advantage of the multi-functionality of ecosystems, so complementing conventional approaches to natural disaster management, although the effectiveness and multi-functionality of Eco-DRR is not yet clearly and quantitatively understood.
Japan’s population is aging and shrinking, leading to the abandonment of farmlands, houses and decreases in other intensive land uses, a challenging circumstance that nevertheless provides an opportunity for improving land use. The population of Japan increased substantially over the last century, increasing the risk of and public exposure to natural disasters. Evaluating past natural disaster risks therefore provides valuable information of adaptation strategies considered in Japan as well as in other countries.
Given this background, the ECO-DRR project sets two main goals: first, it develops methodologies to evaluate Eco-DRR multi-functionality and assess Eco-DRR by comparing multi-functionality in the past, present and future. Secondly, the project supports Eco-DRR implementation through transdisciplinary collaborations with local communities, governments, insurance industry and other stakeholders.
Three research components contribute to achieve the above two goals.
The exposure and vulnerability associated with different natural disasters will be analyzed, and the risks evaluated and visualized as risk maps of the present and past. Modeling risk for the different exposure scenarios will contribute to future Eco-DRR assessments and plans.
Provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services will be evaluated, and their spatial distribution will be modeled in relation to population and land use. The model will be used to evaluate the ecosystem services for different land use scenarios.
Together with local communities and governments, transdisciplinary platforms will be formed at research sites to deepen understanding of, discuss future options of, and build consensus around Eco-DRR approaches. Transdisciplinary scenario analysis under the conditions of climate change and declining population will be conducted. In addition, traditional and local knowledge of disaster risk reduction will be inventoried and evaluated for multi-functionalities shared in the platform.
In collaboration with the insurance industry, a research forum will be formed to discuss the possibility and feasibility of industry-led contributions to and economic incentives for Eco-DRR. The research forum will also assess various laws and institutions in national and local governments related to disaster risk reduction and land use.
Figure 2 Map of the potential habitat of oriental white stork (green area) in central Japan.
The oriental white stork is an endangered bird species that once went extinct in Japan, and the reintroduction of this species has been progressed in Toyooka city and other places in Japan, emphasizing the need of conservation and restoration of its habitat. We explored the characteristics of the habitat by tracking individual birds by satellite, and found that paddy fields and adjacent forests are important component of the habitat. Comparing the habitat of oriental white stork with flood-prone areas demonstrated significant overlap between the two areas, suggesting that conservation and restoration of the habitat can lead to the reduction of flood disaster risk as well.▲PAGE TOP