From Physical Process to Economic Cost – Integrated Approaches of Landslide Risk Assessment

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Martin Klose and Bodo Damm, University of Vechta, ISPA - Applied Physical Geography, Vechta, Germany
The nature of landslides is complex in many respects, with landslide hazard and impact being dependent on a variety of factors. This obviously requires an integrated assessment for fundamental understanding of landslide risk. Integrated risk assessment, according to the approach presented in this contribution, implies combining prediction of future landslide occurrence with analysis of landslide impact in the past. A critical step for assessing landslide risk in integrated perspective is to analyze what types of landslide damage affected people and property in which way and how people contributed and responded to these damage types. In integrated risk assessment, the focus is on systematic identification and monetization of landslide damage, and analytical tools that allow deriving economic costs from physical landslide processes are at the heart of this approach.

The broad spectrum of landslide types and process mechanisms as well as nonlinearity between landslide magnitude, damage intensity, and direct costs are some main factors explaining recent challenges in risk assessment. The two prevailing approaches for assessing the impact of landslides in economic terms are cost survey (ex-post) and risk analysis (ex-ante). Both approaches are able to complement each other, but yet a combination of them has not been realized so far. It is common practice today to derive landslide risk without considering landslide process-based cause-effect relationships, since integrated concepts or new modeling tools expanding conventional methods are still widely missing.

The approach introduced in this contribution is based on a systematic framework that combines cost survey and GIS-based tools for hazard or cost modeling with methods to assess interactions between land use practices and landslides in historical perspective. Fundamental understanding of landslide risk also requires knowledge about the economic and fiscal relevance of landslide losses, wherefore analysis of their impact on public budgets is a further component of this approach. In integrated risk assessment, combination of methods plays an important role, with the objective of collecting and integrating complex data sets on landslide risk.