Title: Identifying and modeling environmental indicators for assessing population vulnerability to conflict using ground and satellite data
Authors: EHRLICH DanieleMUBAREKA Sarah
Citation: ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS vol. 10 no. 2 p. 493-503
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC55845
ISSN: 1470-160X
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X09001502
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2009.09.002
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Conflicts may be directly responsible for the modification of features in the landscape by causing damage to built-up areas or to the environment. Landscape features may also be indirectly affected by conflict as the result of changes in the way of life of inhabitants and their use of natural resource. Conflict-induced changes in landuse features may thus be associated with changes in population vulnerability. This study focuses on the environmental indicators for population vulnerability, an important parameter contributing to risk assessment during and after conflict. These environmental indicators are first identified using field data and are then derived from satellite data. The satellite-derived indicators are used as model input to create a risk map for two areas in Northern Iraq that were targeted during the Anfal Campaigns in 1987 and 1988: Jafati Valley and the southern region of Dahuk. The satellite-driven model is further applied to three dates for the same study areas: 1987, 1989 and 2000-2001. The output describes the risk level within the region for each of the dates studied, and the changes which occurred in Northern Iraq as the result of the Anfal Campaigns. Results show that spatial-based hazard risk assessment is possible using environmental indicators derived from Earth Observation data. For conflict-driven changes in the Jafati Valley study area, there is an apparent change in human activity, manifested as a conversion from agricultural land to grassland, the harvesting of rural mountainous woodland and the net disappearance of built-up areas. For this study area affected by conflict, 86% of the regions where these land cover changes occur were labelled as being at risk according to the model output. In the second study area, 63% of the changes in land cover occur in the regions labelled as being most vulnerable. Further research on this second study site shows that the area was affected by climatic and economic factors rather than conflict.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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