Assessing Hazard Vulnerability, Habitat Conservation, and Restoration for the Enhancement of Mainland China's Coastal Resilience

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-338
Journal / PublicationEarth's Future
Volume6
Issue number3
Online published12 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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Abstract

Worldwide, humans are facing high risks from natural hazards, especially in coastal regions with high population densities. Rising sea levels due to global warming are making coastal communities' infrastructure vulnerable to natural disasters. The present study aims to provide a coupling approach of vulnerability and resilience through restoration and conservation of lost or degraded coastal natural habitats to reclamation under different climate change scenarios. The integrated valuation of ecosystems and tradeoffs model is used to assess the current and future vulnerability of coastal communities. The model employed is based on seven different biogeophysical variables to calculate a natural hazard index and to highlight the criticality of the restoration of natural habitats. The results show that roughly 25% of the coastline and more than 5 million residents are in highly vulnerable coastal areas of mainland China, and these numbers are expected to double by 2100. Our study suggests that restoration and conservation in recently reclaimed areas have the potential to reduce this vulnerability by 45%. Hence, natural habitats have proved to be a great defense against coastal hazards and should be prioritized in coastal planning and development. The findings confirm that natural habitats are critical for coastal resilience and can act as a recovery force of coastal functionality loss. Therefore, we recommend that the Chinese government prioritizes restoration (where possible) and conservation of the remaining habitats for the sake of coastal resilience to prevent natural hazards from escalating into disasters.

Research Area(s)

  • Coastal Reclamation, Natural Habitat, Natural Hazard Index (NHI), Resilience, Sea Level Rise, Vulnerability

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