Logos Reomers


Resilience of french overseas territories to coastal risks in the context of global change (Réunion Island, French Polynesia)

Five research laboratories contribute to the Réomers project: UMR LIENSs 7266 (geomorphology, environmental geography, geomatics; lead), Iddri (Sciences-Po Paris, human geography and law), CEJEP (University of la Rochelle, law), Géophen (LETG UMR 6554, Caen, geomorphology) and GEL (EPHE, Dinard, geomorphology). Additionally, two international experts are involved in this project, Andrew Cooper (University of Ulster) and John Hay (USP, Cook Islands). This project is also based on a close collaboration with both national institutions (ONERC, MEDDE) and local stakeholders, as it aims to support risk reduction (integrated shoreline management policy) and climate change adaptation (national plan for adaptation to climate change).

This research project aims to better understand the driving factors of overseas territories’ vulnerability in the face of coastal hazards (i.e., coastal erosion and flooding), and the mechanisms influencing their resilience to extreme events (tropical cyclones, distant swells, local storms). It is based on a place-specific, systemic and dynamic approach (various spatial and temporal scales being taken into account) that is implemented through two main axes:

(1) Formalisation of current and future risks in the form of chains of impacts: generic chains of impacts (per event type), event-specific chains of impacts (e.g., Tropical Cyclone Oli), and per territory (island, coast);

(2) Reconstruction of the trajectories of vulnerability and resilience of study sites from 1950 to now, based on 7 categories of indicators (characterization of hazards, description of assets at risk, exposure of assets, changes in buffer zones, asset protection, risk management, societal sensitivity). The five first categories of indicators will give rise to the generation of a GIS database allowing cross-analysis.

The results will be discussed with concerned institution representatives and stakeholders during local and national workshops aiming at disseminating results and identifying concrete actions that could be implemented to reduce current and future risks.

Results include:
– Detailed mapping of vulnerability at the local scale;
– In-depth analysis of the drivers of vulnerability at the study sites and of changes in drivers that have occurred over the past 70 years;
– In-depth analysis of the impacts of recent intense events on changes in vulnerability and resilience of study sites;
– Simple modelling of the risk system at the scale of each territory ;
– Highlighting of the mechanisms acting as levers and barriers to resilience ;
– Elaboration of various scenarios projecting future changes in vulnerability and resilience, and co-evaluation with concerned stakeholders of the feasibility of strategies aiming at strengthening resilience;
– Production and delivery of various tools aiming at supporting decision-making at the scale of each territory: an Atlas of vulnerability to coastal hazards, GIS databases and practical recommendations on resilience strengthening strategies.


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