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Root Cause

Environmental costs and benefits undervalued in decision-making

Pursuing economic or developmental interests with insufficient consideration for the impacts on the environment and environmental processes can increase vulnerability to hazards.

Undervaluing the environmental costs of development and governance decisions is particularly evident in decisions relating to land-use change, such as deforestation and damming of rivers. Often, this means that economic development is pursued in a way that ignores critical social or environmental factors, which directly or indirectly increases the risk from hazards. Environmental degradation has cascading effects on livelihoods and food security and can thus negatively affect long-term development; moreoever, the ability of nature to reduce disaster risk is also diminished. Normally, biodiverse habitats are resilient and can buffer the effects of various hazards, but when biodiversity is lost, so is resilience.