ERMOND

Natural disasters – Nature’s solutions.
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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.

Threat to Nordic countries

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.

The development of the Nordic Bioeconomy needs to go hand in hand with the protection against natural hazards, which is the aim of the ERMOND (ecosystem resilience for mitigation of natural disasters) project.

Therefore, the ERMOND project will be closely linked to other projects under the NordBio umbrella, through exploring possibilities of reducing effects of natural disasters in specific case study areas in cooperation with projects aiming for a regional build- up of societies and bioresources.

Goals of ERMOND

The aim of the ERMOND project is to facilitate new thinking and new solutions in preventing damage and loss of lives due to natural disasters in the Nordic countries.

The ERMOND project is divided into three phases:

  1. Compilation of an overview of natural disasters in the Nordic region and use of ecological restoration to reduce the effects of such disasters.
  2. Case studies on the feasibility of strategic build-up of ecosystem resilience within specific regions or sectors.
  3. Recommendations of actions to facilitate build-up of ecosystem resilience in the Nordic region.

The ERMOND project has strong links to the Nordic Environmental Action Plan 2013–2018. Within the Nordic region there is ongoing work on how to meet AICHI targets of restoration of damaged ecosystems. The primary aim of that work is to secure biodiversity, but by restoring ecosystems the resilience of the system will increase and thereby benefit the aims of the ERMOND project.

Ecological resilience

Natural ecosystems have an inherent ability to reduce the effects of natural disasters. This ability is called eco- logical resilience. By restoring natural ecosystems, 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.

Increasing need

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 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.

Contact information
Guðmundur Halldórsson, Research Coordinator
Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (Landgræðsla ríkisins)
Gunnarsholti, 851 Hella, Iceland
Tel: +354 488 3033
Mobile: + 354 861 9605
e-mail: gudmundurh@land.is