Coevolution in Deltas: The interaction between Human engineering and natural systems
Deltaic environments are often densely populated with high socio-economic values, and thus are hotspots of climatic, environmental and anthropogenic change. Large scale engineered structures, such as dike systems, have played an important role in shaping both environmental and socio-economic conditions in deltas, with such interventions more likely where there is a high population and a wealthy economy. Engineered interventions interact with the morphological evolution of the delta, reducing or removing sedimentation and accelerating subsidence, increasing the consequences of flooding and necessitating further adaptation. They also encourage further development, reinforcing this feedback. Thus, in these cases, the deltaic landscape and associated livelihoods can be considered to be the result of a coevolution process between natural delta processes and human engineered interventions. This talk will explore the coevolution process within five large, populated deltas. A conceptual model of coevolution in a generic delta will be introduced, and the operationalisation of this model using Bayesian Networks will be discussed.
Ms Amy Welch is a third year PhD student here at the University of Southampton, under the supervision of Prof. Robert Nicholls and Dr. Attila Lazar. Her PhD is funded by the DECCMA (Deltas, Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation) research project which is a large interdisciplinary project aiming to investigate the effectiveness of adaptation options in deltas. Amy holds a BSc in Oceans, Climate and Physical Geography and an MSc (Eng) in Environmental and Civil Engineering from University of Liverpool, where her interest in coastal hazards and adaptation developed.