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Ecosystem Restoration for Mitigation of Natural Disasters

image of Ecosystem Restoration for Mitigation of Natural Disasters

The Nordic network ERMOND, Ecosystem Resilience for Mitigation of Natural Disasters, reviewed information on natural hazards and ecosystem conditions in the Nordic countries. Many natural hazards put pressure on Nordic societies, primarily floods, landslides, storms, snow avalanches and volcanic activity. Intensified land use and predicted climate change are likely to increase the impacts of natural hazards in the future. Ecosystems in good condition have the ability to reduce the impacts of natural hazards. Our study showed, however, that degradation of natural habitats in the Nordic countries may have reduced or even seriously damaged this ability. Nordic disaster risk reduction policies and strategies should recognize this situation and place restoration of degraded ecosystems on the agenda as an integrated part of future disaster risk reduction management in the Nordic countries.

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Ecosystem condition and ecosystem resilience in the Nordic countries

Extensive human induced ecosystem exploitation has resulted in a degradation of important ecosystem services, including the capacity of ecosystems to provide protection against natural hazards (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). Examples include reduced resilience towards flooding (Nilsson et al. in review), tephra deposition and sand storms (Arnalds 2013; Ágústsdóttir 2015), erosion (Imeson 2012), landslides (Sidle et al. 2006) and avalanches (Sakals et al. 2006). Global climate change is likely to escalate this development (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005).

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