, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 537–550 | Cite as

Regional vulnerability assessment for debris flows in China—a CWS approach

  • Mingtao DingEmail author
  • Micha Heiser
  • Johannes Hübl
  • Sven Fuchs
Original Paper


Based on former conceptual models of vulnerability, this paper aims to improve the quantitative model for regional vulnerability assessment by analyzing in-depth the relation between vulnerability, exposure, coping capacity, and resilience. Taking the mountain settlements in the upper reaches of Min River, China, as a case study, the method of Contributing Weight Superposition (CWS) is applied in establishing both a model and a system for the vulnerability assessment of elements at risk. The CWS approach consists of 13 index factors including population, economic and road densities, building and farmland coverage, hazard-affected areas, urbanization rate, and GDP per capita. Accordingly, a debris flow hazard vulnerability zoning map was obtained and the assessment results show that the distribution of high and comparatively high vulnerability zones, where economic activities are considerably high, has a close correlation to the topography of the catchment and population characteristics. The results thus may serve as a pertinent guidance for settlement relocation, population distribution readjustment, and management to prevent and reduce hazards in the upper reaches of Min River and beyond.


Contributing Weight Superposition Debris flow Vulnerability Min River China 



The study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41371185 and 41101164), the key project of Education Department of Sichuan Province (Grant No. 13ZA0160), and the project of Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province (Grant No. 2013HH0057). The authors kindly would like to acknowledge the insightful comments of three anonymous referees that were very helpful for an improvement of an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environment and ResourcesSouthwest University of Science and TechnologyMianyangChina
  2. 2.Institute of Mountain Risk EngineeringUniversity of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria

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