DTP student, Kelly Gunnell’s (Cohort 1) journal article about her research on natural infrastructure within watersheds of global cities was published, open access, last year (2019) in Science of the Total Environment for a special edition on Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment.
Kelly used a model to quantify how much water is potentially stored in natural infrastructure features (such as canopy, soil, water bodies, wetlands and floodplains) in the upstream watersheds of five cities: Guayaquil in Ecuador, Bogota in Colombia, London in UK, Chennai in India and Jakarta in Indonesia. Flood risk ratios were determined by comparing this storage capacity to runoff. If runoff is greater than storage capacity, there is potential risk of flooding. The flood risk metrics can thus help identify where the maintenance or restoration of further natural infrastructure (such as canopy cover, wetlands and soil) could aid in storing more water and thus better alleviate flood risks. One of the important findings was that there was a widespread lack of protection of this natural flood management infrastructure. In particular the upstream basins of Chennai and Guayaquil had almost no protection of this resource. For those basins with some level of protection, these areas were often in remote high-elevation areas at considerable distance to the beneficiaries of the service.
Kelly has a CASE partnership with Conservation International. This research will help to inform their work on supporting decision-makers in making effective choices about nature and human well-being.
Please see here for the full article: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.212