- "Changing pattern of
landslide risks as response to global changes in mountain areas"
Landslides represent a major threat to human life,
property and constructed facilities, infrastructure and natural
environment in most mountainous and hilly regions of the world.
Statistics from The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of
Disasters (CRED) indicate that, on average, landslides are responsible
for an only small percentage of all fatalities from natural hazards
worldwide. However, the socio-economic impact of landslides is
underestimated because landslides are often triggered by other natural
hazards, such as extreme precipitation, earthquakes or floods and are
usually not recorded separately. This underestimation contributes to
reducing the awareness and concern of both authorities and general
public about landslide risk.
Thus, landslides across the Alpine mountains are recognised by the
scientific and politic authorities as having a major socio-economic
impact and they represent a significant danger for the population and
the properties in particular locations. On the one hand, more frequent
triggering events and increased susceptibility of the soil surface to
instabilities as consequence of climate change are one factor which
increases the landslide risk. On the other hand, a higher vulnerability
of population and infrastructure due to anthropogenic activities,
growing urbanization, development of touristic activities in mountain
areas and uncontrolled land-use which also influence the susceptibility
of slopes to failure increases the risk. This leads to a raising need
to forecast the occurrence of landslides and the hazard and risk
associated with them.
Therefore, the ChangingRISKS project will assess the changing patterns
of landslide risks in the Alps (e.g. changes in landslide activity,
changes in the location and in the sensitivity of the risk areas) by
developing and implementing a methodology to analyse quantitatively the
impacts of global environmental change (climate, landuse,
socio-economy) on mountain slopes exposed to several landslide types.
The methodology will be applied to two case study regions, located in
distinct environmental, socio-economic and cultural settings across the
Alps (in France, and in Austria).
The project has the main objectives (1) to define the
potential impacts of global environmental changes (climate system,
ecosystem e.g. landuse, socio-economic system) on landslide hazards,
(2) to analyse these consequences in terms of vulnerability (e.g.
changes in the location and characteristics of the impacted areas and
level of their perturbation) and (3) to implement a strategy for
quantitatively investigating and mapping indicators of mountain slope
vulnerability exposed to several landslide types.