Natural hazards such as hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes can lead to disasters when they strike vulnerable communities. Vulnerability is a product both of physical exposure to hazards and of a community's capacity to cope with and recover from its impacts—i.e., its resilience. For the poorest, access and control over resources are important determinants of vulnerability and resilience, shaping both their exposure to hazards and their capacity to cope with and recover from natural disasters.
Extreme weather events and other natural hazards can damage the land, sea, forest and other resources vital to people's livelihoods. They kill title holders, destroy documentation and erase demarcations. Compensation after such disasters is often inadequate, and movements of people can increase competition over scarce resources.
For vulnerable communities, the threats will likely increase as climate change leads to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Recognizing this, IISD's research has focused on the ways in which clearly defined, equitable and provable resource rights can play key roles in helping poor and marginalized communities survive disasters and recover.
Addressing Land Ownership after Natural Disasters – An agency survey
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, IISD, 2006 The final results of a survey of humanitarian professionals that gathered opinions and experiences on how best to tackle issues of land ownership after natural disasters.
Natural Disasters and Resource Rights – Building resilience, rebuilding lives
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, Anne Hammill, IISD, 2006 This paper discusses the role of resource rights in pre-disaster resilience and post-disaster reconstruction.
Forests, Natural Disasters and Human Security
» Anne Hammill, Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, IISD, 2005 What role do forests play in reducing human vulnerability to natural disasters? And what are the wider implications of forest degradation for human security? Anne Hammill, Oli Brown and Alec Crawford of IISD assess these questions in a March 2005 article for the International Union for Conservation of Nature/World Wide Fund for Nature forest conservation newsletter Arborvitae.