Yangfan Li, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China

Xiaoxiang Zhang, Hohai University, Nanjing, china

Presentation Title: Development and application of a methodology for spatial vulnerability assessment of coastal environmental change in China



This study improved the framework of 'exposure-sensitivity-resilience' for vulnerability analysis. The pressure indicators of the rapid urbanization process (population growth and land-use change) were introduced to represent the exposure of the system. Based on the resilience of coastal land types, such as mangrove wetlands, an evaluation framework for regional environmental vulnerability of coastal urbanizing areas with spatial analysis was developed. Using Haikou, Hainan Province, China as a case study, the pressure of increasing population, the sensitivity of geographical space and the resilience of coastal natural habitats in the urbanizing coastal areas were calculated. Subsequently, the value of environmental spatial vulnerability was evaluated and mapped.


Key Lessons Learned

  • Maps from 2003 and 2006 reveal that high risk areas are concentrated along the coastal areas in Xiamen.
  • When the changing conditions of these rapidly urbanizing areas were compared with urban planning processes, it is found that high risk areas are located in areas where new industrial parks are being developed.
  • Mapping spatial vulnerability in Haikou, the areas of high vulnerability are rapidly urbanizing, whereas, the areas with low vulnerability are protected areas, such as the mangrove ecosystem.


Policy/Practice Implications of Research

  • This research could be used to help develop early warning mechanisms for coastal disasters.  
  • Creating multiple scenarios offers better prediction of vulnerability alongside the rapid urbanization processes in these areas and will inform decisionmaking and greater socio-ecological protection.


Knowledge Gaps and Needs

  • The next step is to expand the methodology and results to the Eastern and Western Taiwan Strait, to understand the interactions and telecouplings between mainland China and Taiwan.
  • The integration of social science methodologies into the framework.