Land-use change and natural hazards in Java's highlands: the Dieng volcanic landscape, Central Java, Indonesia

Crawford School of Public Policy | Resources, Environment and Development Group
Christina Griffin

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 27 March 2014


Miller Theatre, Level 1, Old Canberra House, Building 73, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Christina Griffin, PhD student, Resource, Environment and Development Group, Crawford School, ANU.


Dr. Keith D. Barney
6125 4957

Understanding why people choose or are forced to occupy hazardous locations is key to developing successful disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives. Despite a sustained global effort to reduce risk, worldwide disaster losses are increasing as populations and economic assets continue to grow in hazardous locations (O’Keefe et al., 1976; World Bank, 2013). Economic development and population growth in Java’s highland volcanic environments is rapidly changing the landscape and placing a greater number of people and assets at risk. People are drawn to the slopes of volcanoes due to the rich agricultural, mining and geothermal potential they provide. This combined with government policies promoting agricultural intensification, has encouraged the upland migration of communities across Java. The task of hazard management in highland Java is complicated by differing government and local perceptions of risk. Amongst these differing perceptions is the government’s bias towards structural measures to reduce risk, compared with residents who view volcanic hazards as part of a complex matrix of other hazards that impact daily life such as the ability to secure enough food for one’s family.

This research proposal seeks to understand the processes that encourage population growth, agricultural intensification and geothermal development in the Dieng Plateau, Central Java, Indonesia. It will focus on analysing the political ecology of land-use change in volcanically active environments and how this inadvertently places people and assets at risk. The study proposes that the different interests and priorities of the government and local community in Dieng influence the way hazard knowledge is understood and acted on which leads to different risk outcomes. By holistically understanding these factors, it is hoped that risk minimisation solutions that consider people’s every day conditions alongside DRR concerns can be developed.

Christina Griffin is a PhD student in the Resource, Environment and Development Group in Crawford School. She has a Bachelor of environmental science from the University of Wollongong and has worked in the Climate Change Risk Group at Geoscience Australia. Christina spent 3 years living in Jakarta during which time she completed a Master of natural hazards at the ANU, studied Bahasa Indonesian, and volunteered in the Humanitarian and Emergency Assistance group of World Vision Indonesia where she assisted with community based hazard mapping projects. Christina’s past research in Indonesia focused on women’s livelihoods and mangrove forests in Aceh following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. She has a keen interest in spatial mapping and the relationship between people and science.

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