Monday, December 28, 2009

'Back to nature' cuts flood risks

Mark Kinver in the BBC News: A study by US researchers said allowing these areas to be submerged during storms would reduce the risk of flood damage in nearby urban areas. Pressure to build new homes has led to many flood-prone areas being developed.

Writing in Science, they said the risks of flooding were likely to increase in the future as a result of climate change and shifts in land use. "We are advocating very large-scale shifts in land use, "said co-author Jeffrey Opperman, a member of The Nature Conservancy's Global Freshwater Team.

"There is simply no way economically or politically that this could be accomplished by turning large areas of flood-plains into parks," he told the Science podcast. "What we are proposing in this paper is a way that this strategy can be compatible, and even supportive, with vibrant agricultural economies and private land ownership."

..."Control infrastructure prevents high flows from entering flood-plains, thus diminishing both natural flood storage capacity and the processes that sustain healthy riverside forests and wetlands," they observed. "As a result, flood-plains are among the planet's most threatened ecosystems."

The reconnection programmes would deliver three benefits, they added:
• Reduce the risk of flooding
• Increase in flood-plain goods and services
• Greater resilience to potential climate change impacts…

A village in the eastern Caprivi floodplains in Namibia

No comments: