American Association of Geographers Meeting, Chicago April 2015

by Craig Hutton

DECCMA team members Dr Andres Payo Garcia and Dr. Craig Hutton (Southampton University) attended and presented on ESPA Deltas at the recent American Association of Geographers in the city of Chicago, USA. The meeting session was organised by Cologne University in Germany and Ohio State University who have been collaborating on a project called Band-AID (http://www.belmont-bandaid.org) which is of direct relevance to DECCMA and operates a small number of case studies within the DECCMA study site in Bangladesh. The intention of the Band-AID project is to build a robust Belmont Challenge identified Earth System Analysis & Prediction System (ESAPS) for Bangladesh, to adapt/mitigate the detrimental hazards including sea-level rise. We will establish an advanced observation system based on contemporary space geodetic sensors to quantify (1) causes of sea-level rise and land motion and their robust vertical datum link, and (2) human interactions that governs coastal vulnerability in Bangladesh.

Additionally a highly relevant project called ISEE Bangladesh lead by Vanderbilt University presented on materials from a small series of detailed studies, some of which occurred in the DECCMA study site. ISEE aims to (1) identify social and environmental factors most important in maintaining stability, from households to communities, or for motivating decisions to migrate; (2) determine how these factors differ within and across diverse social and physical landscapes; and (3) assess how these variables are likely to interact under a variety of scenarios for social and environmental change. In addition it has extensive data on community governance and has carried out a series of ethnographies to this end.

ESPA Deltas presentation demonstrated the broader contextual approach it has undertaken and during a dedicated post session meeting, there was a general consensus that there is a good potential for the projects to develop a high quality paper linking historical land use change with changes in governance typologies, which would be highly informative to DECCMA also. To this end there will be a joint meeting of the projects on June 18th at the University of Southampton with some 10 researchers involved, where a strategy for the development of the research will be further developed. This is an excellent example of projects cooperating to mutual benefit and to produce a synergistic outcome of value to both the research community and within a joint study site.

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