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Working Group 1

Natural Disasters and Protected Areas

1.Chair and Co-chair

2.Outline of the theme

Many natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, flooding due to climate change, storms, abnormal climatic conditions (drought, etc.), forest fires, and tsunami occur throughout the world, which includes protected areas such as national parks. In protected areas, it is necessary to protect the ecosystem in consideration of natural disasters as part of a natural ecosystem process. However, in Asia, it is also necessary to take measures to reduce the risks from natural disasters since there are usually residents, businesses, and cultural assets in protected areas. The utilization of protected areas makes it possible to mitigate the disaster risk by designation of the area at high risk for natural hazards as a protected area, thereby reducing the residential population in the area from the viewpoint of land use, and to establish a sustainable society in the course of recovery from a natural disaster through the conservation of natural environments which are a basis of ecosystem services as well as the utilization of protected areas through tourism.

Therefore, in this working group, the relationship between natural disasters and protected areas will be introduced, and disaster risk reduction and recovery from disasters will be discussed based on the actual conditions of natural disasters and ecosystem conservation.

3. Expected Sub-themes and presentations

1)Natural disasters in protected areas

The investigation of natural disasters that have occurred throughout the world has been undertaken by academics in various fields. However, the compilation of such investigations from the viewpoint of protected areas has been limited, such as the IUCN report in 2006 (Ecosystems, Livelihoods and Disasters), etc. Therefore, we would like to share information and organize this knowledge by collecting information on natural disasters in protected areas in Asia.

Expected presentations

2) Ecosystem conservation and disaster risk reduction

In Asia, it is necessary to reduce the risks from natural disasters since residents, businesses, and cultural assets are usually present in protected areas. In order to reduce risks, some measures can be considered such as building disaster prevention facilities, disaster prevention education, and disaster risk reduction based on ecosystem conservation, etc. We would like here to try to organize the methodologies for disaster risk reduction by sharing information, knowledge, and methods on actions taken to reduce the risks from natural disasters in protected areas in Asia.

Expected presentation

3) Great East Japan Earthquake

The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011, and caused an unexpectedly large tsunami and the greatest catastrophe on record in Japan. In the affected areas, including Sanriku and the coastal area of Fukushima, there are many natural parks, including the Rikuchu-Kaigan National Park. Based on a plan of “Sanriku Fukko (Reconstruction) National Park”, which aims to reconstruct such natural parks, efforts for the recovery have been pursued at a fast pace. We would like to share with other Asian countries information regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake that has been compiled in Japan and the lessons for Japan, where there are many earthquakes and tsunamis.

Expected presentation

4) Management and reconstruction of protected areas after a disaster

In protected areas in Asia, how to live with natural disasters is a major issue. In particular, after a disaster, resource management in protected areas, reconstruction of the area, and preparations for the next natural disaster are important. Therefore, we would like to share information on activities in Asia after natural disasters, and summarize the effective measures and activities for reconstruction.

Expected presentation

5) Other Issues