Natural Hazards

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 1217–1241 | Cite as

Spatiotemporal dynamics: the need for an innovative approach in mountain hazard risk management

  • Sven FuchsEmail author
  • Margreth Keiler
  • Sergey Sokratov
  • Alexander Shnyparkov
Original Paper


Starting with an overview on losses due to mountain hazards in the Russian Federation and the European Alps, the question is raised why a substantial number of events still are recorded—despite considerable efforts in hazard mitigation and risk reduction. The main reason for this paradox lies in a missing dynamic risk-based approach, and it is shown that these dynamics have different roots: firstly, neglecting climate change and systems dynamics, the development of hazard scenarios is based on the static approach of design events. Secondly, due to economic development and population dynamics, the elements at risk exposed are subject to spatial and temporal changes. These issues are discussed with respect to temporal and spatial demands. As a result, it is shown how risk is dynamic on a long-term and short-term scale, which has to be acknowledged in the risk concept if this concept is targeted at a sustainable development of mountain regions. A conceptual model is presented that can be used for dynamical risk assessment, and it is shown by different management strategies how this model may be converted into practice. Furthermore, the interconnectedness and interaction between hazard and risk are addressed in order to enhance prevention, the level of protection and the degree of preparedness.


Mountain hazards Risk assessment Space Time Risk management 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 262693, as well as from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) under grant agreement no. L535-N10 and from the reinsurer Munich Re. Furthermore, the authors kindly acknowledge the support received from the Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Federation, and the insightful comments of Thomas Thaler and another anonymous referee on an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Fuchs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Margreth Keiler
    • 2
  • Sergey Sokratov
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alexander Shnyparkov
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Mountain Risk EngineeringUniversity of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Natural Risk Assessment Laboratory, Faculty of GeographyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussian Federation
  4. 4.Research Laboratory of Snow Avalanches and Debris Flows, Faculty of GeographyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussian Federation

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