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Her Research

One major work published by Niloufar Bayani was entitled The Symbiotic Relationship Between Healthy Ecosystems and Society. Her studies center around wildlife activism and ecology research. Some of her more recent work has focused on developing risk-reduction strategies for ecosystems that have either been heavily damaged, or those that are vulnerable to damage. 

As a co-author on “”Integrating Ecosystems in Risk Assessments: Lessons from Applying InVEST Models in Data-Deficient Countries,” Bayani investigated how ecosystem-centered computational modeling could be used as a unique, efficient way to make urban planning decisions that reduce the risk of natural disasters causing damage to communities and the environment. Specifically, Bayani called attention to the ways in which an environment that is untouched by human activity can act as effective defenses from natural disasters. This is important because previous modeling programs relied solely upon spatial estimates of the environment, instead of also considering the environment’s health. The two case studies included the coastal environment of Haiti’s ability to naturally protect land against flooding during storm surges, and how reforestation in the Lukaya river basin of the Democratic Republic of Congo decreases soil erosion. 

Port Salut is a coastal region of Haiti with a population of approximately 18,000. This region is vulnerable to disasters because of the rapid urbanization that has occurred, in part, due to tourism in the region. Healthy coastal ecosystems improve tourism, and moving tourism to safer areas can help increase investments in tourism and property development Bayani’s model demonstrated that not only is the town in one of the most vulnerable regions of the coastline, but the declining health of the ecosystem is putting it at significantly higher risk to damage during a storm. The model also showed that restoring the health of the ecosystem could reduce the amount of coastline at high risk to exposure from 57% to 12%. She argued that making this change would be a mutually beneficial decision, as healthy ecosystems both support tourism and prevent damage to the town, while also leading to increased biodiversity. 

In the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Lukaya river basin supplies water for around 40,000 individuals. It currently has a significant sedimentation issue that has led to flooding and reduced water quality due to deforestation and urbanization. Again, densely populated regions were at the highest risk of damage caused by flooding. Here, Bayani’s model incorporated data from elevation, land use, rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, stream networks, sub-watersheds, and the water treatment plant. She showed that if urbanization continues, all sub-watersheds will ultimately export 5.61% more sediment to the river, while reforestation would lead to a 7.88% reduction in river sedimentation.

Works Cited

Bayani, Niloufar, and Yves Barthélemy. “Integrating Ecosystems in Risk Assessments: Lessons from Applying InVEST Models in Data-Deficient Countries.” Ecosystem-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation in Practice Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards

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Bayani, Niloufar, and Yves Barthélemy. “Integrating Ecosystems in Risk Assessments: Lessons from 

Applying InVEST Models in Data-Deficient Countries.” Ecosystem-Based Disaster Risk 

zReduction and Adaptation in Practice Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least
try to do something remarkable?”

JANET MORRIS

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