Session FT 5.10
The role of forests in water-related natural disaster risk management
- Forestry Agency of Japan
The objective of the session is to review common narratives on the interactions between forests and water and their relationship to risk management and to arrive at coherent and consistent ways to communicate the forest and water relationship to both sectors.
The session first set the scene by presenting two cases highlighting the complexity of forest-water linkages. The case studies were followed by a state-of-art presentation on the current state of scientific knowledge on the water-forest linkages in relation to water-related natural risks.
After a brief comment from the expert panel, two case studies were presented to illustrate what can be done locally to address the challenge of risk-related forest and water linkages.
- Affordable monitoring is a ley issue to understand locally the linkage between forests and hydrology. Participatory water monitoring appears to be the most promising method.
- A coherent policy need to integrate water and forest legislations.
- In the long run, soils types are particularly important in mitigating storm run off peak.
- The linkages between forests and water should been seen as a site specific issue and dependent on the specific characteristics;
- The interrelations between forests and water should be recognized at different levels (local, national, international) and by different sectors (public, private, academia);
- Innovative measures, such as microfinance, need to be applied to help preventing the suffering of the most vulnerable people from water-related natural disasters.
Orientations for action
- To avoid misguided investments, it is important to develop research on the forest-water linkages and share findings around the world.
- Developing micro-insurance in the same way as microcredit is being developped might reduce the vulnerability to natural disasters for to the poors
Local Actions presented
Beiria Leimona: Exploring and developing reward mechanisms for upland farmers for watershed functions in Sumberjaya watershed
Leimona Beria, ICRAF Indonesia
Sumberjaya is a benchmark for conflicts of forest watershed functions in Indonesia and has witnessed one of the most intensive ‘eviction’ episodes increasing poverty of squatter families. Current research suggests that these evictions have been based on an incomplete understanding of the underlying issues. Getting the watershed functions right in Sumberjaya can not only solve a local problem, but also have substantial exemplary value.
Starting in 2004, Sumberjaya watershed has been joining the RUPES (Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services They Provide) Program for a 3-year action research activity. The RUPES Program is building working models of best practices for successful environmental services agreements adapted to the Asian context. Better criteria, clearer guidelines on who gets what on what conditions (or a ‘rewards scheme’) are needed to ensure environmental services and work towards a more sustainable solution in the next 3 years
International Network on Water and Forests
Mr Makoto Tani, Kyoto University
In Japan where. deforestation, soil erosion and the development of barelands have been addressed through tree planting as early as 1868 during the Meiji restoration area, the history of the relation between forests and water is an interesting perspective
Research in Japan shows that not lands are equally vulnerable to degradation and that soil types and geological characteristics influence the buffering capacity of the land. In Sandy soils, storm runoff peaks are reduced because of the higher buffering capacity of this type of soil.
In the long run, soils types are particularly important in mitigating storm run off peak.
This is one of the example of what can be disseminated through the “Water and Forest International Network” that was launched following the 3rd World Water Forum. The network consists of two parts, a “Technologies for Water and Forests” Database, and a Virtual Conference Room. The site can be visited at : http://www.suiri-kagaku.or.jp.
Microinsurance, reducing the vulnerability of the poor
Dirk Reinhard, Münich Re Foundation
In 2005, damages causes by natural disasters amounted to USD 210 billion. Damages increase because the value of goods and properties increases and population increases but also because of climate change.
Although the frequency of disasters is lower in Africa, the vulnerability and losses are higher in poor countries.
OF the two billion people living with less that one or two dollars a day, less than ten million have access to insurance. Micro insurance provided affordable access to insurance to a segment of population which until recently was generally ignored by the traditional insurers.
Most programs so far have been developed for health or life insurance. This is the case for example of ASSEF, a Benin-based health insurance which offers insurance for a premium of 0.75 euros a month and has reached 2500 clients. Property as well as agricultural insurance schemes are still rare but underway.
Natural disasters create hardships which insurance, especially microinsurance, can help reduce by providing immediate and necessary funds which otherwise would not have been available.