Methodological approaches and challenges to assess the environmental losses from natural disasters

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    Disasters cause enormous damages to the natural environment which underpins human survival, yet we largely fail to account for the loss of services from the damaged environmental when it comes to accounting for disaster-related costs. This is mainly due to lack of conventional market price-tag for the services that are readily obtained from the natural environment. This study presents a costing framework, following the World Bank [1]; and a set of methodologies for how to measure such losses. A key focus of proposed methodologies is to assess these losses in terms of their impacts on human well-being, applying both the monetary and non-monetary measures. This paper further demonstrates the application of the proposed framework and methodologies for assessing the loss of ecosystem services from bushfires in the Northern Territory (NT), Australia, where wildfires are frequent, extensive, and often destructive. The total bushfires-related loss was estimated at AU$95-132million per year. Evaluating such costs for loss of Indigenous peoples’ well-being who reside in remote parts of the NT, presents an estimate of AU$272 million/yr. It discusses the key challenges to evaluate environmental losses, particularly the importance of applying local values, and understanding the local context and intricacies between social and economic systems. The framework and methodologies presented here to evaluate environmental losses can be useful to inform policy planning in natural disaster management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101619
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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