Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 53–60, 2012

Special issue: Geo-hydrological risk and town and country planning

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 53–60, 2012

Research article 06 Jan 2012

Research article | 06 Jan 2012

Solving the dilemma of transforming landslide hazard maps into effective policy and regulations

J. V. DeGraff J. V. DeGraff
  • USDA Forest Service, Clovis, CA, USA

Abstract. As geoscientists, we often perceive the production of a map or model to adequately define landslide hazard for an area as the answer or end point for reducing risk to people and property. In reality, the risk to people and property remains pretty much the same as it did before the map existed. Real landslide risk reduction takes place when the activities and populations at risk are changed so the consequences of a landslide event results in lower losses. Commonly, this takes place by translating the information embodied in the landslide hazard map into some change in policy and regulation applying to the affected area. This is where the dilemma arises. Scientific information generally has qualifications, gradations, and conditions associated with it. Regulations are necessarily written in language that tries to avoid any need for interpretation. Effectively incorporating geologic information into regulations and ordinances requires continued involvement with their development and implementation. Unless geoscientists are willing to participate in that process, sustainable risk reduction is unlikely to occur.