Enhancing post-disaster resilience by ‘building back greener’: Evaluating the contribution of nature-based solutions to recovery planning in Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan

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This research evaluates the contribution of nature-based solutions to urban resilience in post-disaster situations. Post-disaster recovery planning is an opportunity to ‘build back greener’ by fostering ecosystem approaches towards social and ecological resilience. Yet understanding of specific post-disaster resilience benefits which nature-based solutions provide is still emerging. This paper contributes to this field through evaluation of how ecosystem approaches bring resilience benefits in Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Content analysis is undertaken on disaster recovery plans produced by the 8 municipalities in Futaba County. The ecosystem services included in each plan are identified, as well as the extent to which municipalities are capable of assessing the services provided. This is supplemented with insights from field visits and wider documentation produced by the municipalities. The analysis shows that cultural ecosystem services feature especially strongly within the plans, and that these cultural services are critical to recovering sense of identity and pride post-disaster. However, the analysis also indicates that municipalities may lack the technical competence to assess ecosystem services, especially in a post-disaster setting where resources are stretched. One implication from the research is the need for further consideration in other empirical contexts of how cultural services – especially citizen participation – can be integrated with more technical approaches to post-disaster ecosystem management. A second implication is that whilst ecosystem approaches offer post-disaster resilience benefits, these should be an aid to recovery and not a substitute for long-term support from national governments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-118
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date9 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019



  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Eco-DRR
  • Fukushima nuclear disaster
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Resilience

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