Flood Vulnerability and Deforestation: a case study of North Korea

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Flood Vulnerability and Deforestation: a case study of North Korea

Date 2014. 2. 28.

Input Paper

Prepared for the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

Author: Soojeong Myeong

Korea Adaptation Center for Climate Change

Korea Environment Institute

Table of Contents


Flood Vulnerability and Deforestation of North Korea 3

Flood Vulnerability and Natural Disasters 3

Deforestation in North Korea 5

Relationship between Flood and Deforestation 5

References 7


Forest ecosystems provide humans with diverse ecosystem services: water and air purification, food provision, ground water recharging, recreation services, biodiversity conservation, atmospheric carbon storing through photosynthesis, buffering functions against natural disaster, etc. The study on economics of ecosystem (Costanza et al., 1997; TEEB, 2010) showed the importance of natural ecosystems for the well-beings of humans in various ways. One of the primary concerns in climate change is dealing with natural disasters and extreme events such as flash flood and severe drought. IPCC (2012) stated that a changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events; it is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe. Therefore, maximizing the ecosystem service of forest would greatly help to mitigate the climate related natural disasters and promote climate change adaptation. In addition, it would also help to uptake atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis process, thereby reducing the concentration of atmospheric carbon and thus greatly contributing to climate change mitigation.

North Korea has been experiencing severe losses and damages from natural disasters, especially from floods for many years (Myeong et al., 2009, 2013). The major cause for the occurrence of flood could be the impact of climate change. However, deforestation activities can be one of the main culprits for flood damages. Since deforestation not only decreases the amount of carbon stored in the forest but also reduces ecosystem’s natural buffering function against flood. This study aims to examine the relationship between flood damage and forest cover in order to provide an insight for both climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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