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Environmental and economic impact on sustainable development

Editors: C.A. Brebbia and J.L. Miralles i Garcia

The focus in the book is on more constructive and progressive approaches
to the problems discussed, to ensure sustainability. The hope is that through
the shared experiences of experts, we can learn from past failure, to avoid
repeating similar mistakes, while attempting to prevent emerging threats to the
environmental and ecological systems. Fundamental to these concepts are an
analysis of the inherent risks and the development of appropriate strategies.
The papers in this book cover such topics as: Environmental assessments;
Environmental policies and planning; Water resources management; Natural
resources management; Legislation and regulations; Development issues;
Economic impact.
Title of related interest:

Sustainable Development and Planning VIII
Editor: C.A. BREBBIA
WIT Transactions on Ecology and
the Environment, Vol 210
ISBN: 978-1-78466-153-3
eISBN: 978-1-78466-154-0
Forthcoming 2016 / apx 1200pp


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ISBN 978-1-78466-245-5

ISBN: 978-1-78466-245-5
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9 781784 662455

Environmental and Economic Impact
on Sustainable Development

The papers in this volume discuss the most serious problems affecting
sustainable development. They consider the impact of economic constraints on
the environment, taking into account the social aspects as well as the over-use
of natural resources. Uncontrolled development can also result in damage to the
environment in terms of the release of toxic substances and hazardous waste.
Thus, attention is paid to issues related to whether some forms of development
are compatible with environmental protection, particularly in cases of possible
serious contamination and toxicity.

Editors: C.A. Brebbia &
J.L. Miralles i Garcia

Environmental and
Economic Impact on
Sustainable Development

Environmental and
Economic Impact
on Sustainable
Development

Editors:
C.A. Brebbia &
J.L. Miralles i Garcia


Environmental and Economic Impact


on
Sustainable Development

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Environmental and Economic Impact
on
Sustainable Development

Editors

C.A. Brebbia
Wessex Institute, UK
J.L. Miralles i Garcia
Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain


Editors:
C.A. Brebbia
Wessex Institute, UK
J.L. Miralles i Garcia
Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain

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Preface

This Volume contains a selected number of reviewed contributions presented at the International
Conference on Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development, which was held
in Valencia, co-organised by the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Wessex Institute of
Technology.
The papers address a variety of problems affecting development, in an attempt to find constructive
and progressive approaches to ensure sustainability. Some contributions consider the component
of economic constraints on the environment, taking into account the risks involved for the natural
resources.
A number of contributions refer specifically to the need to carry out environmental assessment to
better understand its capacity from the physical as well as the social aspects.
The Volume also examines some aspects related to the damage produced by serious contamination
and the need to put remedial or protective measures in place.
As the research on environmental impacts advances, a series of policy and planning guidelines
have emerged, some of which are discussed in this Issue.
The contents of this Volume will be of interest to researchers in academia and industry, as well as
those professionals in private practice or government authorities who need to be aware of the latest
developments in this challenging field.
The Editors
2017


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Contents

Use of self-organizing maps in the identification of different groups of reclamation sites
in the Amazon forest-Brazil
A. I. Ribeiro, R. M. Longo, F. H. Fengler, G. De A. Medeiros,
A. Bressane, D. E. Crowley & W. J. De Melo .................................................................... 1
Seasonal tropical cyclone activity and its significance
for developmental activities in Vanuatu
V. Saverimuttu & M. E. Varua ............................................................................................ 8
The effect of firms reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project
on their CO2 emissions: application on industrial sector
A. Turková & L. Donze ..................................................................................................... 19
Environmental sustainability and quality of life:
from theory to practice
I. G. Malkina-Pykh & Y. A. Pykh ...................................................................................... 27
New criteria of environmental control for activities implementation
in Valencian urban management
Maria Teresa Broseta Palanca ......................................................................................... 38
Environmental policies and socio-territorial impact
in Lacandon Jungle 2002–2012
S. E. Valle-García............................................................................................................. 49
Management plan and surveillance monitoring for
an urban lake in a coastal touristic town
María-Teresa Sebastiá-Frasquet, José-Andrés Sanchis-Blay,
Juan Tormo-Flores, Vicent-Jesús Altur-Grau
& Jesús Pena-RegueiroI ................................................................................................... 60


Vitrified hillforts as anthropogenic analogues for
nuclear waste glasses – project planning and initiation
R. Sjöblom, J. Weaver, D. Peeler, J. McCloy, A. A. Kruger,
E. Ogenhall & E. Hjärthner-Holdar................................................................................. 71
Neighborhood sustainability assessment tools and water system
adaptation: a framework to analyse the adaptive capacity in the
physical–social context
S. Naji & J. Gwilliam........................................................................................................ 81
From mitigation to sustainability: the evolution of incorporating
environmental factors into development decisions in Australasia
B. R. Jenkins ..................................................................................................................... 94
Planning and urban growth. what to do with urbanized vacant areas
in the land of Valencia?
F. Gaja I Díaz ................................................................................................................. 104
Results and effectiveness of environmental assessment
legal mechanisms in a case study: urban planning of the
Municipality of Villanueva de Castellón (Valencia)
M. J. Gozalvo .................................................................................................................. 113
A mobile environmental monitoring station for sustainable cities
L. T. Silva, B. Mendes, D. Rodrigues, P. Ribeiro & J. F. G. Mendes ............................. 123
Detecting seismic waves induced by blast operations at a
limestone quarry by means of different transducer mounting
G. Coltrinari ................................................................................................................... 133
Updated method of aptitude to sustainable urban development
for including green infrastructure
José Luis Miralles I Garcia & Vicent Jesús Altur Grau ................................................. 144
Nutritional and environmental considerations of food stockpiles
in Japan and USA: reducing food waste by efficient reuse
through the food banks
M. Sato, M. Nakano, K. Gatto & S. Wunderlich ............................................................. 154
Consumers’ food choices and the role of
perceived environmental impact
S. Wunderlich & K. A. Gatto .......................................................................................... 163
Typology of the transformations occurred in the peri-urban space
of Huerta de Valencia. Evidence from North Arch of Valencia (Spain)
R. Temes & A. Moya ....................................................................................................... 170
Ecosystem health, human existence, and bio-capacity deficit:
the ethical relationship
Choy Yee Keong ............................................................................................................. 178


Environmental management in the vegetable sector of Mexico
L. E. Padilla-Bernal, A. Lara-Herrera, A. Vélez,
E. Reyes & J. R. González .............................................................................................. 191
A pilot study for Plant the Seed: a nutrition education program
using local food environment to put theory into action
Karen A. Lee, Yeon Bai, Shahla M. Wunderlich
........................................................................................................................................ 202
Water Quality Index in an urban watershed
Raissa C. Gomes, Regina M. Longo, Fernando H. S. Ribeiro,
Sueli do C. Bettine, Antonio C. Demanboro & Admilson I. Ribeiro ............................... 211
Key strategic actions to improve the challenge of
hazardous waste management in Mozambique
K. Ferrari, R. Gamberini, B. Rimini & H. Abacassamo ................................................. 218
Integrated waste management:
environmental assessment and planning
G. Perillo ........................................................................................................................ 229
Measuring the environmental impact of ICT hardware
Barbara Krumay & Roman Brandtweiner...................................................................... 238


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Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development

1

USE OF SELF-ORGANIZING MAPS IN THE
IDENTIFICATION OF DIFFERENT GROUPS OF
RECLAMATION SITES IN THE AMAZON FOREST-BRAZIL
A. I. RIBEIRO1, R. M. LONGO2, F. H. FENGLER1, G. DE A. MEDEIROS1, A. BRESSANE1,
D E. CROWLEY3, W. J. DE MELO1
1University State of São Paulo, Brazil
2 Pontifical Catholic Unive rsity of Campinas, Brazil
3University California Riverside, USA

ABSTRACT
Brazil has the third largest reserve of contained tin, around 12.3% of the amount produced in world,
being a large part of these reserves located in the Amazon region. As a result of this mineral wealth,
the Amazonian ecosystem has been suffering a rapid process of environmental degradation since the
sixties. In this sense, given the mining adverse consequences to the environment, Brazilian Constitution
obligate the land reclamation of degraded areas by mining and it has been performed by the majority of
the mining companies. However, given the environment complexity and its relationship with the biological diversity, there is a great necessity of better understanding in assessment of evolution of these
degraded areas in recovery. Thus, the present work had as objective identifying different groups of
degraded areas in reclamation process by means of soil texture, biochemistry and vegetation indicators.
The data was analyzed through Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) Self Organizing Maps (SOMs). The
results showed four different groups and it was identified a relationship between the different textures
soils as a result to the recovery method applied.
Keywords: Amazon Forest, Tin mine, Recovery, Soil

1  INTRODUCTION
Brazil has the third largest contained tin reserves, ie about 12.3 % of the world total, and most
all of these reserves are located in the Amazon region [1]. As a result of this mineral wealth,
the Amazon ecosystem is undergoing an accelerated process of environmental degradation
since the 60ths. In this insertion, it is observed that the land reclamation of mined areas is part
of the Brazilian Federal Constitution and has been held by most companies in Brazil.
However, given the complexity of the environment and its relation to biological diversity,
there is a great need for evolutionary understanding of the areas in reclamation. In this scope,
the extraction of cassiterite in open mine presents itself as one of the most common techniques used in the mining region of the Brazilian Amazonia [2]
This mining technique employs a process almost entirely mechanical, using various earthworks and transport equipment, whose own traffic significantly alter soil characteristics
where the mineral is being exploited. These changes, or environmental damages, reach the
maximum during the mining process, where the density difference process, which separates
the mineral to several tons of waste containment basins, occurs. In sequence, even with

© 2017 WIT Press, www.witpress.com
DOI: 10.2495/SDP-V11-N6-827-833


2 Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development
p­ lowing already performed, other operations that follow the removal of the ore also cause
degradation.
In this sense, the present study aimed to understand the different groups formed by the
analysis of land reclamation indicators, using the Artificial Neural Networks Self-Organizing
Maps in the clustering process. Thus, we sought to understand the similarities between different substrates in which the in reclamation areas lies. The Self-Organizing Maps were made
by the following indicators: Particle size of soils substrates, soil organic matter, water retention, microbial biomass, dehydrogenase, species richness per parcels and number of arboreal
individuals per hectare
The data were analyzed by the Kohonem Self-Organizing Maps, which consider the data
visualization technique developed by Professor Teuvo Kohonen, in early 80ths. This technique is capable of mapping multidimensional data to subspaces to lower dimensions, where
geometric relationships between points show by its likeness. The reduction of dimensionality
that SOMs offer allows the users to view and to interpret patterns that would be indecipherable or intelligible to a complex condition of multidimensionality in the original data.
2  MATERIALS AND METHODS
2.1  Characterization of the study area
The National Forest of Jamari (FLONA Jamari) Figure 01 covers an area of approximately
225.00 hectares, where 90% are covered by Open Rainforest, where significant commercial
wood value is founded and also rich in minerals reserves.
The climate classification according to Köppen is Aw, indicating hot and humid climate
season, with short dry season, and average temperatures of 22°C. The annual rainfall in
placed between 1750 to 2750mm, and the relief unit that dominates the landscape is the Western Amazon’s Downgraded Plateau with altimetry ranging between 100 and 200 meters.
The National Forest of Jamari is included in the category of sustainable use unit and its
vegetation are composed by open rain forest with small patches of tropical rainforest. The
main soils in the study area are: oxisol and ultisols and hydromorphic soils [2].

Figure 1: Jamari National Forest Location. (Font: adaptation [9])


Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development



3

2.2  Soil substrates
The self-organizing maps analysis was applied in four different substrates, however for the
development work we used only the pit mine and dry overnburden substrates. This choice
was defined in order to understand the scope of Self Organizing Maps, because these tow
substrates have the most different grain sizes.
2.3  Land reclamation indicators
The self-organization maps were generated using indicators variables that were sensible to
soil grain size differences between the degraded substrates:








Variable water retention capacity (WRC): To determine the WRC was used the method of
Richards pressure chamber, described by EMBRAPA [3]
The carbon in the microbial biomass (CMB) was determined according to the methodology described by [5]
The determination of dehydrogenase activity was made by the method described in [5].
Soil organic matter (OM) was determined according to the methodology presented by [2]
Species richness per parcels (parcels richness) was determined in each experimental area
within the parcel set in the experiment.
The number of arboreal individual per hectare (individuals tree/ha ) was determined by
counting individuals with diameter at breast height (DBH) greater than 10 cm in the parcel and later estimate per hectare.

2.4  Artificial neural network analyses
ANN analyses were conducted using the software Synapse (Peltarion Corporation, Sweden)
following the protocols provided by the modeling program. The data were first entered into
EXCEL files where they were inspected, randomized, and then saved as text files for import
into Synapse. Kohonen SOM were generated from the full data set, including both the independent and dependent variables [6].
However, in the development of this work we considered the potential of display groups
formed in the self-organizing maps in an output network composed by a mesh of virtual units
or artificial neuron of two dimensional 15x15 neurons. The modeling process with Kohonen
Self Organizing Maps was based on the methodology presented by [7].
The dimensionless set was projected in a nonlinear way in to a rectangular grid and on a
hexagonal grid with S hexagons, called Kohonen map (Figure 03a).
Each hexagon shown in Figure 1b is an artificial neuron called Virtual Unit (Virtual Units
or - VU). These units represented by (Vuk) 1≤k≤S correspond to virtual places that house the
data represented by (sik) 1≤i≤n, 1≤k≤S. At the end of the output layer calculation routine,
which consists of the set of Virtual Drives, will present the Sampling Units allocated in their
respective positions, constituting the SOM (Kohonen map).
The algorithm of Self Organizing Maps Kohonen search position the Sampling units similar in the same regions of the Virtual Drives, preserving the neighborhood between VUs. The
positioning of the Sampling Units occurs by simulating the functioning of the human brain
process by Artificial Neural Network (ANN), for interactive settings.
The method lacks a learning stage, where the neural network is trained to perform the
allocation of sampling units in the correct locations of Virtual Drives. For learning only, the


4 Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development

Figure 2: Substrate pit mine letter a and substrate overnburden letters b

Figure 3: (A) Map Self Organizing of two dimensions, each sphere symbolizes the neurons
of the input layer; (B) Auto Organized Map (Kohonen map) formed by a rectangular
grid with the virtual drive Vuk or artificial neuron in each hexagon. Fonte: Adapted
[7].
input units will be used and no output will be displayed by the system and an unsupervised
learning.
2.5  Data analysis
For verification of the interactions observed in the self-organizing map we used the correlation matrix of variables, measured by the Pearson coefficient.
3  RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The U-matrix (Figure 04) represents a unified distance matrix, and through it we can visualize the distance between the neighborhood of the map units, that is, it becomes possible to
observe all the Clusters on the map. This image of the U-matrix can be used to view the data
in a high - dimensional space using a 2D image. It is observed that it was possible after network training differentiate four clusters.
In Figure 05 we observe that the self-organizing maps for different substrates, where it was
applied the revegetation techniques. The group of neurons shown that the maps of different




Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development

5

Figure 4: Clustering in colors and U- matrix (unified distance matrix) in gray.

Figure 5: Maps SOM self-organizing for different substrates in recovery.
substrates do not have spatial regions of similarity. Thus, the choice of these substrates as
areas with different behavior for recovery, showed compatible with the results. Thus, the pit
mine substrates and dry waste(overburden) are discussed in relation to the recovery indicator
variables.
In Figure 06 the self-organizing maps relating to particle size classification and particle
size are presented. The construction of these maps was carried out to identify the display
range of groups of neurons for different substrates. It is observed that the spatial similarity
clustering of different textures are compatible with the levels of particulate clay, silt and sand.
It is clearer the visualization of the similarity of the cluster maps of neurons for clay texture
classification and sand. The average texture didn’t present a well-defined similarity with the
granulometric levels.
The maps of indicator variables are shown in Figure 07. It is observed that most of the
indicators has a region with the top left neuron groups. This region corresponding to the pit
mine substrate which features fine particle sizes such as sand and silt. According to [8] the
variables: microbial biomass, organic matter, and dehidrogease have showed good indicators
for areas in reclamation. We note that the soil water retention capacity also shows significant
in this region. However, regarding species richness indicator variable per parcel and the number of individual tree per hectare, there is a spatial representation of neuronal groups with
similar trends. Thus, it can be inferred that the local revegetation by planting seedlings of
native species has aided the recovery of disabled tin mines in the Amazon rainforest.
Table 1 shows the correlation matrix between the indicator variables. It is observed that
most of the correlation (Pearson coefficient) were low. However, the highest correlations support the similarities neuron clusters in self-organizing maps. Note that the correlation between
the number of arboreal individuals has a correlation of 0.62 with the wealth of individuals


6 Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development

Figure 6: Self-organizing maps SOM for particle size and classification of textures in the
substrates in recovery.

Figure 7: 
Indicator variables: organic matter, water retention, microbial biomass,
dehydrogenase, species richness per parcel, individual tree per hectare
Table 1. Correlation matrix for the studied variables.
Correlation
Matrix
Clay
Silt
Sand
WRC
MC
Desid
OM
P. rich
Arbo indiv

Clay

Silt

Sand

1

---

---

0.622
-0.929
0.389
0.17
0.156
0.122
-0.003
0.031

1
-0.818
0.261
0.078
0.016
0.064
-0.061
0.004

--1
-0.359
-0.127
-0.112
-0.093
0.049
-7E-04

WRC CMB Desid
---

---

---

OM
---

P. rich Arbo indiv
---

--------------------1
--------0.309
1
------0.157 0.227
1
----0.275 0.365 0.499
1
--0.206 0.303 0.203 0.348
1
0.14 0.312 0.227 0.405 0.6229

----------------1

confirming that local revegetation by planting seedlings of native species has aided the recovery of disabled tin mines in the Amazon rainforest.
4  CONCLUSIONS
Considering the self-organizing maps methodology applied to the results it was possible to
identify different groups of degraded areas recovery disabled tin mines in the Amazon
rainforest.
The indicators variables related to biological activity proved to be more correlated with the
areas in which the fine particle size and water retention in the soil is greatest. In these areas
the correlation between the number of tree species and individual wealth are larger.
The sandy areas even not correlate well with the variables associated with biological activity showed a correlation with the kind of wealth denoting that the planting of native species
has aided the recovery of degraded areas in different deactivated mines.




Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable
 Development

7

REFERENCES
[1] INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DE MINERAÇÃO (IBRAM). Informações e Analises da Economia Mineral Brasileira (2011)d isponível em http://www.ibram.org.br/
sites/1300/1382/00001669.pdf
[2] LONGO, Regina Márcia; RIBEIRO, Admilson Írio and MELO, Wanderley José
de.Uso da adubação verde na recuperação de solos degradados por mineração na floresta amazônica. Bragantia[online]. 2011, vol.70, n.1 [cited 2016-04-13], pp.139-146.
Available from: . ISSN 0006-8705.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0006-87052011000100020
[3] EMBRAPA-EMPRESA BRASILEIRA DE PESQUISA AGROPECUÁRIA. Manual
de métodos de análise de solo. 2. Edição . Rio de Janeiro, 2011. 225p
[4] VANCE Ed, BROOKES Pc, JENKINSON Ds. An extraction method for measuring soil
microbial biomass C. Soil Biol Biochem. 1987;19:703-7.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0038-0717(87)90052-6
[5] Melo WJ, Melo GMP, Araujo ASF, Melo VP. Avaliação da atividade enzimática em
amostras de solo. In: Figueiredo MBV, Burity HA, Oliveira JP, Santos CERS, Stanford
NP, editores. Biotecnologia aplicada à agricultura: Textos de apoio e protocolos experimentais. Brasília/Recife: Embrapa Informação Tecnológica/ Instituto Agronômico de
Pernambuco; 2010. p.153–87.
[6] Eder C. SANTOS, Eduardo Dutra ARMAS, David CROWLEY, Marcio Rodrigues
LAMBAIS, Artificial neural network modeling of microbial community structures in
the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Volume 69, February 2014,
Pages 101-109, ISSN 0038-0717, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2013.10.049.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038071713003933)
[7] GIRAUDEL, J. L.; LEK, S. A comparison of self-organizing map algorithm and some
conventional statistical methods for ecological community ordination. Ecological Modeling. v. 146, p. 329–339, 2001
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3800(01)00324-6
[8] YADA, Marcela Midori et al. Atributos Químicos e Bioquímicos em Solos Degradados
por Mineração de Estanho e em Fase de Recuperação em Ecossistema Amazônico.
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Available from: . ISSN 1806-9657.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/01000683rbcs20140499.
[9] RIBEIRO, A. I.; R. M. Longo ; MELO, W. J. ; MACIEL, A. J.S. ; Lourenço, R.W. ;
FRACETO, L. F. . Recovery of degraded areas using topsoil in the Amazon rainforest.
WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (Online), v. 167, p. 220-225, 2011.


8 Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development

SEASONAL TROPICAL CYCLONE ACTIVITY AND ITS
SIGNIFICANCE FOR DEVELOPMENTAL ACTIVITIES
IN VANUATU
V. SAVERIMUTTU & M.E. VARUA
School of Business, Western Sydney University, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Developing island nations in the Pacific are highly dependent on tourism receipts to support and sustain growth in their economies. Vanuatu consists of an archipelago of 83 islands with a population of
approximately 260,000 people. Vanuatu is classified as a least developed nation with a predominance
of subsistence agriculture as well as a heavy dependence on the tourism sector as mainstays of the
economy. In 2015, a category 5 cyclone struck Vanuatu causing severe destruction in four of its six
provinces damaging both of its key industries, tourism and agriculture. Australia, as a key development
partner and as a provider of the majority of its tourists has a direct interest in the sustainability and
stability of the Vanuatu economy. Australia provides financial as well as humanitarian assistance to
Vanuatu in the event of a crisis as well as for developmental purposes. Tropical cyclones are a normal
phenomenon in the Southern hemisphere generally during the months of November to April. Even if a
cyclone does not make landfall, strong gusts of wind and rainfall can cause significant damage through
flooding. Although people can be trained in disaster management techniques and thereby achieve a
reduction in the death toll, the damage to property and key industries are inevitable. This paper investigates the impact of cyclone activity on the economy of Vanuatu from the beginning of this century
and its significance for the developmental challenges that face this nation. The paper also explores
the dependence of Vanuatu on aid programmes and its implications for the management of extreme
weather events in order to promote the sustainability of its key industries.
Keywords: aid, sustainable development, tourism, tropical cyclones and economic impact, vanuatu.

1  INTRODUCTION
Developing island nations in the Pacific are essentially agricultural in nature with poorly
developed manufacturing sectors and limited natural resources. Nevertheless, with destination
attributes such as pristine beaches, active volcanoes and cultural traditions, which have withstood the passage of time into modernity, these small island developing states (SIDS) are
amply endowed for the promotion of tourism. Consequently, the only viable alternative to
support and sustain growth in these economies is a high dependence on the tourism sector.
Tourism in these nations is not only a key contributor to Gross Domestic product (GDP) and
employment, but it is also a major foreign exchange earner and pays for much needed imports
to support the development and sustainability of these economies. However, these SIDS are
disproportionately vulnerable to natural disasters. The tourism sector, in particular, is susceptible due to its seasonal nature as well as the destruction of its tangible physical infrastructure
and intangible destination image and reputation [1] as a result of exposure to natural hazards.
Fourteen of the 39 countries listed by the United Nations [2] as SIDS are located in the
Pacific region. To emphasise the vulnerability of these islands to natural disasters, Pelling and

© 2017 WIT Press, www.witpress.com
DOI: 10.2495/SDP-V11-N6-834-844


Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development



9

Uitto [3] have documented the occurrences of hazardous events during the last century in ten
of these islands. The details, including the effect of these disasters where information was
available are given in Table 1 [3] below. Sufficient information was not available for the other
four islands. These extreme events include cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts and
active volcanism.
During the latter part of the last century, in 1994, a volcano erupted in Papua New Guinea
(PNG) and wiped out a major city. Vanuatu experiences active volcanism from time to time
as well and the danger to the local communities is that acid rain and lava flow could destroy
food crops. An earthquake followed by a tsunami with devastating effects, including loss of
life, occurred in 1998 in PNG. Vanuatu also experienced earthquakes followed by smaller
tsunamis in 1999 and 2002. According to Meheux et al. [4], during the years 1993 to 2005,
excluding Kiribati, destructive cyclones and severe flooding occurred in all of the Pacific
nations listed in Table 1 [3]. Tropical cyclones (TCs) are a normal phenomenon in the southern hemisphere generally occurring during the months of November to April. According to
the World Bank [5], during the period 1950 to 2004, 76% of the natural disasters reported in
this area were caused by TC activity. Diamond et al. [6] found that during the period 1970–
2010 there was an average of 12.9 storms per full season (November to April) and 4.1
developed into categories 3, 4 and 5 TCs. The average of occurrences of category 5 TCs was
0.5 per season based on a total of 20 TCs during this period. Even if a cyclone does not make
landfall, strong gusts of wind and rainfall can cause significant damage through flooding and
other hazards. Although people can be trained in disaster management techniques and thereby
achieve a reduction in the death toll, the damage to property and key industries are inevitable.
In this disaster prone region, between the years 1970 and 2010, Vanuatu experienced the
highest TC frequency of 3.9 in a full season [6]. Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands with
a population of approximately 260,000 people. The country is classified as a least developed
nation with a predominance of subsistence agriculture as well as a heavy dependence on the
tourism sector as mainstays of the economy [7]. In 2015, a category 5 cyclone struck Vanuatu
causing severe destruction in four of its six provinces damaging both of its key industries,
tourism and agriculture. Australia, as a key development partner and as a provider of the
Table 1: Hazardous events in the Pacific Islands during the period 1900 to 2000.
Country
Cook Islands
Fiji
Kiribati
Niue
Papua New Guinea
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu

Events
1900–1997

Events
1987–1997

9

4

45

41
2
4
47
8
26
55
5
32

9
0
1
16
3
5
4
2
11

521
20
no data
7797
283
403
14
6
174

Total Deaths

Total Affected
900
15,887
no data
no data
728,940
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data


10 Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development
majority of its tourists has a direct interest in the sustainability and stability of the Vanuatu
economy. Australia provides both financial and humanitarian assistance to Vanuatu in the
event of a crisis as well as for developmental purposes. New Zealand too has an interest in the
stability of the region and also provides emergency and developmental assistance. In signing
the Waiheke declaration along with other Pacific nations, a commitment was made to
strengthen the tourism sector in all the Pacific islands [7]. The UN [2] has also continuously
reiterated that SIDS must be treated as special cases for both environmental and developmental purposes. Managing the growth of the tourism sector, while protecting the environment
and cultural integrity, was recognised as a priority area. In 2014, Vanuatu was spotlighted as
on target to shed its LDCS by 2017 [8]. The impact of cyclone Pam on the economy in 2015
may have hindered this goal to some extent. One year on the economy is yet to fully recover
from its devastation.
The next section will explore the phenomenon of TCs. Following this, the impact of
cyclone activity in the key industries of the economy of Vanuatu, from the beginning of this
century, will be investigated. Data on cyclone activity and from the tourism and agricultural
sectors will be utilised for this purpose. The paper will also explore the dependence of Vanuatu on aid programmes. Finally the significance of the impact of extreme weather for the
developmental challenges that are faced by this nation and its implications for the management of extreme weather events, in order to promote the sustainability of its key industries,
will be discussed.
2  TROPICAL CYCLONES
In the southern hemisphere, when the sea surface temperature rises above 26.5˚C, thunderstorms develop into tropical cyclones that revolve clockwise. As the cyclone develops the
centre or the eye of the cyclone can range from 10 km to over 100 km. The strongest winds
and heaviest rainfall are at the wall of the eye, a dense cloud that surrounds the eye. Within
the eye or centre there will be light winds and skies are often clear. When the wind gusts
around the centre exceed 90 km/hr the storm will be categorised as a cyclone and these gusts
could exceed 280 km/hr increasing the severity of the cyclone. A cyclone will dissipate over
cooler water or as it moves inland, but in the process it could follow an erratic path and cause
much damage. It can also last for many days [9].
As destructive winds are accompanied by heavy rainfall, apart from the damage to buildings and crops, the cyclone increases the risk of drowning from flash flooding that can occur
inland and along coastal areas. It can also cause landslides. When a TC makes landfall the
highest risk is from storm surges. This occurs when a dome of water from the sea, approximately 60 to 80 km wide, rises to about 2 to 5 km higher than the sea level during normal tide
and floods the areas around the coast. Storm surges and waves can cause severe erosion along
the coast and low lying atolls are in danger of being wholly submerged, especially if a storm
surge occurs at high tide. Turbulence at sea could also damage moored vessels as well as
those out in the ocean. Cyclones are categorised according to their severity and the Australian
scale (Table 2: [10]) differs from that used in the United States. Even when a cyclone does
not make landfall, those feeling the wind from the outer part of a category 4 or 5 cyclone
often assume they have experienced a severe cyclone [9].
Diamond et al. [6] estimated that 27.9% of a total of 283 storms that occurred in the southwest Pacific area, during the years 1970 to 1990, developed into major TCs. From 1991 to
2010 the number of storms fell to 234 and 36.7% of these storms developed into severe TCs.
The increase in proportion in the latter half of the period was found to be statistically significant. In addition, nearly 85% of the 21 category 5 TCs that occurred during the whole period,


Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development



11

Table 2: Tropical cyclone categories in Australia.
Name

Category

Tropical
Low

Tropical
Depression

Strength of
Gust (km/h) Effects

Extent of Damage

>63

Gales

Minimal damage: crops, houses.

Damaging winds Minimal damage: crops, trees,
houses. Boats may drag.
Destructive
Minor damage: houses. Signifiwinds
cant damage: signs, trees. Heavy
damage: crops. Power failure.
Boats may drift.
Very destructive Some roof and structural damwinds
age. Power failure likely
Very destructive Significant roof and structural
winds
damage. Dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power failures.
Extremely deExtremely dangerous with widestructive Winds spread destruction

TC

1

90–125

TC

2

125–164

Severe
TC
Severe
TC

3

165–224

4

225–279

5

>280

Severe TC

occurred between 1991 and 2010. Their analysis confirmed that most occurrences of TCs
were around Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. This is not surprising as Vanuatu is located in
the Pacific Ring of Fire and at the centre of the cyclone belt [11]. Diamond et al. [12] reported
that in the southwest Pacific region the TC season is at its height from January to March.
3  IMPACT OF CYCLONE ACTIVITY ON KEY SECTORS IN VANUATU
In order to examine the impact of cyclones on the tourism sector in Vanuatu, quarterly data,
on cyclone activity [13] and tourist arrivals (by air) [14]) for the period 2001 to 2015, was
utilised. Simple linear regression analysis reported in Table 3 confirmed the expected result,
that cyclones during this period had a significantly negative impact on tourist arrivals and its
growth rate, in the quarter that the event occurred (Qc). The data showed that most of the
cyclone activity took place during the months, January to March (Q1). The cyclone activity
also had a significantly negative impact on arrivals in the next quarter (Qn) but a positive
result could not be confirmed for Qn+1. The growth rate in arrivals in Qn was positive but not
significant. However, the growth rate in (Qn +1) with reference to the growth rate in Qn was
positive and significant. These results imply that cyclones had affected tourist arrivals not
only just in the quarter that it had occurred but also in the next two quarters.
One could argue that the results reported (Table 3) reflect seasonality rather than the impact
of cyclones on the tourism sector. Information is widely available on tourism sites about the
prevalence of cyclone activity during the months, January to March in Vanuatu. Thus, tourist
arrivals by air are generally lower in Q1 than in other months. The general pattern of tourist
arrivals (by air) can be seen in Table 4 [14] below. To reconfirm the impact of cyclones in
Vanuatu from 2001 to 2015 further analysis was conducted. Since cyclones affect the
­agricultural sector as well, agricultural value added was used as a proxy for cyclones and its


12 Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development
Table 3: Impact of cyclones on tourist arrivals 2001 to 2015.
Cyclone (Qc)
Variable

Correlation
­coefficient

P-value

Arrivals: Qc

−0.38958

0.002999***

Growth rate of arrivals: Qp to Qc
Arrivals: Qn
Growth rate of arrivals: Qc to Qn
Arrivals: Qn+1
Growth rate of arrivals: Qn to Qn+1

−0.43865
−0.22471
0.215964
0.18178
0.505436

0.000808***
0.099072*
0.116777
0.18833
0.000113***

***,**,* significant at 1%, 5% and 10% respectively
Qc: Current quarter; Qp: Previous quarter; Qn: Next quarter
Table 4: Seasonality in tourism arrivals (by air) in Vanuatu.
Year

Quarter 1 (Q1)

Quarter 2 (Q2)

Quarter 3 (Q3)

Quarter 4 (Q4)

Total

2011

16,600

22,181

29,897

25,282

93,960

2012
2013
2014
2015

19,798
19,520
19,832
18,750

25,310
27,538
25,533
18,654

34,357
34,248
34,599
27,592

28,696
28,803
28,844
24,956

108,161
110,109
108,808
89,952

Table 5: Impact of cyclones on the tourism and agricultural sectors 2001 to 2015.
Correlation
coefficient

Variable

Proxy for Cyclone

P-value

Tourist Arrivals

Agriculture value
added

0.945426

0.0000***

Tourism Receipts

Agriculture value
added

0.958122

0.0000***

***,**,* significant at 1%, 5% and 10% respectively.

impact was independently tested on tourist arrivals and tourism receipts. In this case, the
expected sign is positive as cyclones affect both the tourism and agriculture sectors negatively. As quarterly data were not available, annual data were obtained for the years 1995 to
2013 for these variables [15]. As shown in Table 5 the signs are positive and significant confirming that both sectors were affected by cyclones during the period under review.


Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development



13

Table 6: Tourism arrivals (by sea) in Vanuatu.
Year

Quarter 1 (Q1)

Quarter 2 (Q2)

Quarter 3 (Q3)

Quarter 4 (Q4)

Total

2011

40,965

51,119

31,988

30,866

154,938

2012
2013
2014
2015

63,601
65,678
67,627
52,256

45,833
59,842
55,660
29,171

43,280
45,771
40,144
48,954

60,529
69,192
56,744
67,090

213,243
240,483
220,175
197,471

Visitors on cruise ships are excluded from the previous analyses. These are day visitors to
Vanuatu and are generally unaffected by cyclone activity in that their travel is booked and
paid for well ahead of time and accommodation and other services are on board the cruise
ships. However, it appears that cyclone Pam has had an impact as the number of passengers
in the quarter following this cyclone fell to 29,171, the lowest number of day visitors in any
quarter during the years 2011 to 2015 (Table 6 [14]).
4  EMERGENCY AND DEVELOPMENTAL AID
In the wake of the category 5 Cyclone Pam, which struck Vanuatu in March of 2015, the
Australian Government provided $10 million dollars for immediate humanitarian support. $5
million of this was for the purpose of search and rescue, medical teams and other humanitarian relief items including transport and logistics provided by Australian personnel and $5
million was provided through United Nations agencies and other non-governmental organisations for the same purpose. A further $5 million was provided for early recovery and $35
million was set aside for long term recovery taking Australia’s total package of emergency
assistance to $50 million [16]. This commitment was in addition to the official development
assistance provided by Australia to Vanuatu, as its largest development partner.
Immediate assistance was required for clean water, food, shelter, health care and psychosocial care requiring quick access to financing [17]. The long term damage to the nation was
determined to be around AU$600 million, which is approximately 64% of Vanuatu’s GDP
and the total recovery costs were estimated to be AU$426 million [16]. Vanuatu was not the
only country affected by Cyclone Pam. Others in the south Pacific included Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. Given the extent of the total damage, the international community
responded immediately with emergency assistance for all four countries, with Vanuatu receiving the largest share [18].
Vanuatu is not only categorised as SIDS but also has least developed country status (LDCS)
and at the time the cyclone struck the country was in transition to graduate from its LDCS by
December 2017 [8]. In October 2015, the Prime Minister of Vanuatu appealed to the United
Nations to delay the country’s graduation from LDCS as the cyclone had wiped out nearly 10
years of economic growth [19]. Countries are classified with LDCS based on low income,
human assets weakness and economic structural vulnerability to exogenous shocks and are
entitled to preferential treatment in international trade, official development assistance, technical cooperation and other forms of assistance. The current list with LDCS includes 48
countries [20].
Samoa in the same region suffered a tsunami in 2009 and a category 4 cyclone (Evan) in
2012 and graduated from LDCS in January of 2014. Although Cyclone Pam had a d­ evastating


14 Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development
Table 7: Response of international aid to cyclone activity in Vanuatu 1981–2012.
Variable

Proxy for Cyclone

Growth rate of Overseas aid in t+1
(ODACT$ lag)

Growth rate of agricultural value added in
time t (AGVACT$)

Correlation
coefficient
−0.04791

P-value
0.079458*

***,**,* significant at 1%, 5% and 10% respectively

Figure 1:  International aid and cyclone activity in Vanuatu 1981–2012.
impact in Vanuatu, and the severity of the cyclones has been reported to be increasing since
the 1990s, cyclone activity is not a new phenomenon for this country [6]. In addition, as
reported previously Vanuatu is also vulnerable to other natural hazards such as tsunamis and
volcanism and the Ni-Vanuatu have survived these for centuries [21]. Further, just prior to the
cyclone the country was working with UNCTAD to shed its LDCS, despite cyclone and other
hazards which were just as devastating in the past. This would imply that measures were in
place to reduce the economic vulnerability to exogenous shocks. A question that has been
raised is whether aid creates a moral hazard against risk reduction. For the governments of
the Pacific nations, if the international community responds generously whenever disaster
strikes, inaction in reducing risks appears rational. For donors, there is instant recognition
and praise via social media and television networks for generosity, which is independent of
any risk reduction efforts of the country [5]. Does emergency aid create dependence in these


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