Assessing landslide exposure in areas with limited landslide information

Roberta Pellicani, C.J. van Westen, Giuseppe Spilotro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)
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Landslide risk assessment is often a difficult task due to the lack of temporal data on landslides and triggering events (frequency), run-out distance, landslide magnitude and vulnerability. The probability of occurrence of landslides is often very difficult to predict, as well as the expected magnitude of events, due to the limited data availability on past landslide activity. In this paper, a qualitative procedure for assessing the exposure of elements at risk is presented for an area of the Apulia region (Italy) where no temporal information on landslide occurrence is available. Given these limitations in data availability, it was not possible to produce a reliable landslide hazard map and, consequently, a risk map. The qualitative analysis was carried out using the spatial multi-criteria evaluation method in a global information system. A landslide susceptibility composite index map and four asset index maps (physical, social, economic and environmental) were generated separately through a hierarchical procedure of standardising and weighting. The four asset index maps were combined in order to obtain a qualitative weighted assets map, which, combined with the landslide susceptibility composite index map, has provided the final qualitative landslide exposure map. The resulting map represents the spatial distribution of the exposure level in the study area; this information could be used in a preliminary stage of regional planning. In order to demonstrate how such an exposure map could be used in a basic risk assessment, a quantification of the economic losses at municipal level was carried out, and the temporal probability of landslides was estimated, on the basis of the expert knowledge. Although the proposed methodology for the exposure assessment did not consider the landslide run-out and vulnerability quantification, the results obtained allow to rank the municipalities in terms of increasing exposure and risk level and, consequently, to identify the priorities for designing appropriate landslide risk mitigation plans
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-480
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2014


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