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Title: Roads and landslides in Nepal: How development affects environmental risk
Authors: Mc Adoo, Brian Garland 
Quak Song Yun, Michelle 
Gnyawali, Kaushal R.
Adhikari, Basanta R.
Devkota, Sanjaya
Rajbhandari, Purna Lal
Sudmeier-Rieux, Karen
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2018
Citation: Mc Adoo, Brian Garland, Quak Song Yun, Michelle, Gnyawali, Kaushal R., Adhikari, Basanta R., Devkota, Sanjaya, Rajbhandari, Purna Lal, Sudmeier-Rieux, Karen (2018-11-30). Roads and landslides in Nepal: How development affects environmental risk. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 18 (12) : 3203-3210. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Related Datasets: 10635/148909
Abstract: The number of deaths from landslides in Nepal has been increasing dramatically due to a complex combination of earthquakes, climate change, and an explosion of informal road construction that destabilizes slopes during the rainy season. This trend will likely rise as development continues, especially as China's Belt and Road Initiative seeks to construct three major trunk roads through the Nepali Himalaya that adjacent communities will seek to tie in to with poorly constructed roads. To determine the effect of these informal roads on generating landslides, we compare the distance between roads and landslides triggered by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake with those triggered by monsoon rainfalls, as well as a set of randomly located landslides to determine if the spatial correlation is strong enough to further imply causation. If roads are indeed causing landslides, we should see a clustering of rainfall-triggered landslides closer to the roads that accumulate and focus the water that facilitates failure. We find that in addition to a concentration of landslides in landscapes with more developed, agriculturally viable soils, that the rainfall-triggered landslides are more than twice as likely to occur within 100 m of a road than the landslides generated by the earthquake. The oversteepened slopes, poor water drainage and debris management provide the necessary conditions for failure during heavy monsoonal rains. Based on these findings, geoscientists, planners and policymakers must consider how road development affects the physical (and ecological), socio-political and economic factors that increase risk in exposed communities, alongside ecologically and financially sustainable solutions such as green roads.
Source Title: Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
ISSN: 1561-8633
DOI: 10.5194/nhess-18-3203-2018
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