Saving Unique Ecosystems by the Use of Economic Methods and Instruments : Is this possible?
Since the 1990s flood risk and the effects of flooding episodes have reemerged as an important natural hazard concern in central and northern Europe. These concerns have also been exacerbated as a result of widespread and increasing awareness of global climate change, and significant wetland loss due to rising sea levels. Global climate change and wetland loss are expected to increase the frequency and extent of floods in the future (Nichols et al., 1999). These floods are expected to cause significant changes in the current land use and population patterns. Contrary to floods of the past centuries, recent European floods have milder effects in terms of loss of human life. Nevertheless the economic costs of flooding are rapidly increasing as a result of increased costs of damages to infrastructure and production in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, and disruptions to transport. The estimated costs of the damages of the floods of 1997 and 2001 are in the region of one billion USD for Poland, and 250 million USD, for the surrounding countries (Brakenridge et al, 1997, 2001). As a consequence of the increasing economic and social costs of floods, European governments have taken a more involved approach in flood risk reduction.
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