Background

Natural disasters, such as floods, storms, earthquakes, erosion and volcanic eruptions are a major threat to all human societies. More than 200 million people are affected annually by natural disasters. In some cases our modern societies are even more vulnerable to natural hazards than the societies in the past, due to increased urbanization and economic globalisation.

Many natural hazards threaten the Nordic countries. Storms, floods, avalanches and volcanic eruptions have caused major damage and loss of lives in the Nordic countries during recent years.

Natural ecosystems have an inherent ability to reduce the effects of natural disasters. This ability is called ecological resilience. By restoring natural ecosystems for Eco-DRR, ecological resilience can be increased and the effects of natural disasters reduced. Restoration of wetlands can reduce the effects of floods in rivers. Restoration of estuaries can reduce the effects of sea water floods. Restoration of woodlands can stabilize soils, increase slope stability and reduce the effects of volcanic eruptions by stabilizing volcanic ash.

The international community has recognized the importance of including ecosystem resilience in a global framework for disaster reduction and within the EU there is increased emphasis on Eco-DRR, enhancing ecosystem resilience for disaster risk reduction.

Despite the international recognition of the role of ecosystems in disaster risk reduction, there is limited progress in applying such solutions in policy and practice. The need for such actions is increasing as human induced ecosystem degradation has resulted in worldwide reduction in the capacity of ecosystems to provide protection against natural disasters.

The ERMOND project through a network of a nordic partners aims to address solutions for ecosystem approaches to disaster risk reduction in the Nordic countries.

ECOSYSTEM RESILIENCE FOR MITIGATION OF NATURAL DISASTER