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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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Natural hazards in the Nordic countries

Natural hazards are a major threat to all human societies and cause serious damage every year. During 2000–2009, average annual casualties world-wide from natural hazards came to 80,000 people and over 200 million people were affected (CRED CRUNCH 2011). Direct annual economic losses from disasters due to natural hazards are over USD 100 billion, not including uninsured losses (UNISDR 2013). The number of disasters reported worldwide has increased rapidly since the 1960s and is expected to increase further following predicted future climate change (Renaud et al. 2013; UNISDR 2013).

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