Decision Tools and Approaches to Advance Ecosystem-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Twenty-First Century

Whelchel, A.W. and Beck, M.W., 2016. Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

Organisations and governments around the globe are developing methodologies to cope with increasing numbers of disasters and climate change as well as implementing risk reducing measures across diverse socio-economic and environmental sectors and scales. What is often overlooked and certainly required for comprehensive planning and programming are better tools and approaches that include ecosystems in the equations. Collectively, these mechanisms can help to enhance societies’ abilities to capture the protective benefits of ecosystems for communities facing disaster and climate risks. As illustrated within this chapter, decision support tools and approaches are clearly improving rapidly. Despite these advancements, factors such as resistance to change, the cautious approach by development agencies, governance structure and overlapping jurisdictions, funding, and limited community engagement remain, in many cases, pre-requisites to successful implementation of ecosystem-based solutions. Herein we provide case studies, lessons learned and recommendations from applications of decision support tools and approaches that advance better risk assessments and implementation of ecosystem-based solutions. The case studies featured in this chapter illustrate opportunities that have been enhanced with cutting edge tools, social media and crowdsourcing, cost/benefit comparisons, and scenario planning mechanisms. Undoubtedly, due to the large areas and extent of exposure to natural hazards, ecosystems will increasingly become a critical part of societies’ overall responses to equitably solve issues of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

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