Project

Natural hazards & climate change

Goal: Risk assessment and management strategies for natural hazards and climate change

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Project log

Shane Orchard
added a research item
Widespread mortality of intertidal biota was observed following the 7.8 Mw Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016. To understand drivers of change and recovery in nearshore ecosystems, we quantified the variation in relative sea-level changes caused by tectonic uplift and evaluated their relationships with ecological impacts with a view to establishing the minimum threshold and overall extent of the major effects on rocky shores. Vertical displacement of contiguous 50 m shoreline sections was assessed using comparable LiDAR data to address initial and potential ongoing change across a 100 km study area. Co-seismic uplift accounted for the majority of relative sea-level change at most locations. Only small changes were detected beyond the initial earthquake event, but they included the weathering of reef platforms and accumulation of mobile gravels that continue to shape the coast. Intertidal vegetation losses were evident in equivalent intertidal zones at all uplifted sites despite considerable variation in the vertical displacement they experienced. Nine of ten uplifted sites suffered severe (>80%) loss in habitat-forming algae and included the lowest uplift values (0.6 m). These results show a functional threshold of c.1/4 of the tidal range above which major impacts were sustained. Evidently, compensatory recovery has not occurred—but more notably, previously subtidal algae that were uplifted into the low intertidal zone where they ought to persist (but did not) suggests additional post-disturbance adversities that have contributed to the overall effect. Continuing research will investigate differences in recovery trajectories across the affected area to identify factors and processes that will lead to the regeneration of ecosystems and resources.
Shane Orchard
added an update
We're pleased to share a new paper in Science of the Total Environment that assessed the actual effects of sea-level change (of up to 0.5 m) on the resilience of coastal ecosystems.
 
Shane Orchard
added an update
We're pleased to announce publication of a new paper in Natural Hazards from the Resilient Shorelines Ph.D project.
The identifies the impacts of hydrological changes resulting from tectonic ground movement in low-lying coastal environments, and assesses analogies with climate change.
See the Resilient Shorelines project update
 
Shane Orchard
added an update
Check out the latest issue of the Recover newsletter (Issue 4).
The Reef Ecology & Coastal Values Earthquake Recovery (RECOVER) project unites scientists across disciplines to research and understand the impacts of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake and assess recovery trajectories as they unfold.
our coastal reefs.
Available online here:
 
Shane Orchard
added 3 research items
The design of shoreline protection initiatives is a cornerstone topic in the discourse on coastal climate change. Projects to restore degraded coastal margins are an important aspect of this field, and looking ahead, the avoidance of similar degradation issues is an important topic for planning. In recent years there has been considerable progress achieved in many parts of New Zealand in relation to degraded dune ecosystems, and with an increasing focus on estuaries. Many of these projects are referred to as ‘Coastcare’ initiatives and are often led by, or have benefited from, local community-based approaches . As such, they are an important area of activity within the wider opportunities for local community input into coastal management.
Guidelines for sustainability and ecosystem-based climate change adaptation in the coastal zone Coastal zones worldwide are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and communities who depend on these areas and the ecosystems services and assets that occur there are highly exposed to loss and damage. Whereas some of these impacts can be addressed through natural solutions, others might be irreversible. Addressing climate change adaptation and disaster-risk reduction in an integrated manner, is therefore particularly relevant in these areas, in particular to reduce long-term vulnerability. During this session, case studies on climate change adaptation action from different areas of the world will be examined, and lessons learned for both management and policy will be derived as the basis for new recommendations. Key Speakers Liette Vasseur, Brock University, Canada; Shane Orchard, WCPA and CEM; Milika Sobey, IUCN; Robert Mather, Southeast Asia Group, IUCN; Mark Ford, U.S. National Park Service; Robert Young, Western Carolina University
Dunes provide a range of benefits for coastal hazard management. This includes protection from erosion, inundation, and storm surge events, and may include disaster risk reduction benefits in large magnitude events. However, New Zealand’s coastal dune ecosystems have become heavily modified in recent decades and the space available for dunes has become severely restricted in many areas. The restoration and protective management of indigenous dune ecosystems is now an urgent conservation issue. Since plant communities influence dune form and dynamics, the protection of dune biodiversity is important to their coastal hazard management role. The management of dunes as Protected Areas is now a common approach and can be especially important in locations where development and land use patterns have encroached on the space available for dunes, or where intensive management responses to other threats are required. There are now many examples of dune restoration projects at sites where former dunes had largely disappeared, or where the dune plant community has been impacted by invasive species. These projects provide opportunities to assess the potential for protected area management to deliver benefits for coastal hazard management within an integrated approach to coastal management. Additionally, forward planning for the adaptive management of coastlines is needed in the context of predicted sea level rise, and includes consideration of the values of protected areas and the future roles they may play. This case study presents results from an example of restorative dune management within the Christchurch Coastal Park network with a focus on the potential roles of these parks in disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.
Shane Orchard
added a project goal
Risk assessment and management strategies for natural hazards and climate change