A new paper accepted at Water Resources Research

Good news. A paper that I participated as its corresponding author and led by one of my graduate students has been accepted at a top journal in the field of water resources and hydrological sciences: Water Resources Research.

Title: Effects of flood control strategies on flood resilience under socio-hydrological disturbances

Abstract: A community capacity to cope with flood hazards, or community flood resilience, emerges from the interplay of hydrological and social processes. This interplay can be significantly influenced by the flood control strategy adopted by a society, i.e., how a society sets its desired flood protection level and strives to achieve this goal. And this interplay can be further complicated by rising land-sea level differences, seasonal water level fluctuations, and economic change. But not much research has been done on how various forms of flood control strategies affect human-flood interactions under these disturbances and therefore flood resilience in the long run. The current study is an effort to address these issues by developing a conceptual model of human-flood interaction mediated by flood control strategies. Our model extends the existing model of Yu et al. (2017), who investigated the flood resilience of a community-based flood protection system in coastal Bangladesh. The major extensions made in this study are inclusions of various forms of flood control strategies (both adaptive and non-adaptive ones), the challenge of rising land-sea level differences, and various high tide level scenarios generated from modifying the statistical variances and averages. Our results show that adaptive forms of flood control strategies tend to outperform non-adaptive ones for maintaining the model community’s flood protection system. Adaptive strategies that dynamically adjust target flood protection levels through close monitoring of flood damages and social memories of flood risk can help the model community deal with various disturbances.

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USDA NIFA seed grant received as a co-PI

A proposal that I participated as a co-PI (along with other researchers in Idaho and Purdue) to USDA NIFA seed grant program has been awarded.

Project Title: Measuring feedbacks between farmer adaptation to irrigation water restrictions, land use change, and water availability in southeast Idaho.

A larger proposal based in this proposal has been submitted to NSF DRMS in January 2018.

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Two co-authored papers have been submitted

Two Purdue graduate students who took my courses ( community resilience, dynamics of social-ecological-technical systems) led and recently completed two manuscripts, to which I contributed as a co-author. These two papers were recently submitted to Natural Hazard and International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. Great job, Juyeong and Davis!

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A new paper published

A new paper on long-term qualitative analysis of coastal resilience has been published. It was co-authored by me.

Ishtiaque, A., N. Sangwan, and D. Yu. 2017. Robust-yet-fragile nature of partly engineered social-ecological systems: a case study of coastal Bangladesh. Ecology and Society 22(3):5


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Three co-authored papers submitted

Three co-authored papers (of which two are led by my graduate students) have been submitted to a special section “Socio-hydrology: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Coupled Human-Water Systems” in Water Resources Research.

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Delivered invited talks at JpGU-AGU 2017 meeting and several universities in Korea

A couple weeks ago, I delivered an invited talk at JpGU-AGU 2017 meeting in Chiba, Japan. Title of the talk is “A behavioral approach to understanding human-water interactions under hydrological variability“. Honored to have met and spent time with leading scholars of socio-hydrology and global hydrology such as Murugesu Sivapalan and Taikan Oki. I also had an unexpected reunion with my PhD committee member there, Professor Rachata Muneepeerakul who is now at University of Florida.

After the JpGU-AGU meeting, I traveled to Korea to give invited talks at several Korean universities (Korea University, HongIk University, UNIST, Yonsei). I thank Professors KyoungRok Paik, Chon Jin Hyoung, Jeryang Park, and Yeonjoo Kim for hosting me. I also visited SNU and spent time talking with several professors. I especially thank Professor Dowon Lee. He invited me to spend time at SNU in 2011 when I was a graduate student. Professor Youngryeol Ryu also shared his heart-felt insights on how to manage a lab group. Thank you all for the wonderful time.

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A co-authored paper has been accepted for publication

Good news.

A paper that I participated as its corresponding co-author has been just accepted for publication by Ecology & Society. As you may know, Ecology & Society is an interdisciplinary journal that focuses on resilience thinking and social-ecological systems. It is the official journal of Resilience Alliance.

This paper used historical analysis to understand evolving robustness-fragility tradeoffs of a partly-engineered coastal social-ecological system.

This paper has been led by Asif Ishtiaque, a PhD student at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University. The title and abstract of the paper are given below.

Robust-yet-fragile nature of partly-engineered social-ecological systems: A case of coastal Bangladesh

Asif Ishtiaque1, David J. Yu2, 3, 4, Nikhil Sangwan2

1School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, United States

2Lyles School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, United States

3Department of Political Science, Purdue University, United States

4Center for the Environment, Purdue University, United States

ABSTRACT. Modern social-ecological systems are often partly-engineered to enhance the robustness (or reduce the variance) of human welfare to environmental fluctuations over a foreseeable time horizon. Recent studies show, however, that subtle trade-offs are usually inherent in such efforts of enhancing short-term robustness. Managing variance on short time scales is likely to be associated with the buildup of hidden fragilities on longer time scales. Using a flood-prone social-ecological system (SES) of coastal Bangladesh as an example, this paper investigates some of the ways in which such robustness-fragility tradeoffs can manifest. This SES has been extensively modified in the last few decades through the construction of large-scale flood protection structures (polders) and the introduction of commercial shrimp farming to enhance the robustness of food production to hydrological variability. Our case study analysis of the long-term changes in the SES shows that, although the modifications helped with stability in short time scales, the resulting changes also induced unforeseen problems such as infrastructure maintenance issues, land degradation and sinking, and exposure to market volatility. This paper therefore contributes to better understanding of the notion of robustness-fragility tradeoffs by illustrating an exemplary case of the phenomenon in the engineered coastal environment context.


Key Words: robustness; robustness-fragility trade-offs; social-ecological systems; coastal resilience; coastal vulnerability; embankments; polder; cyclone; flooding; storm; saline water intrusion; land subsidence; infrastructure; socio-hydrology.

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