New analysis shows that restoring mangrove forests and coral reefs could be a cost-effective solution to reduce coastal flooding in more than 20 countries in the Caribbean.
The study, published May 28 in the journal Ecosystem servicesrisk methods used and insurance industry provide rigorous assessments of these natural defenses and show that they can provide a positive return on investment, with the benefits of reduced flood damage outweighing the cost of recovery.
The results point to new opportunities for support recovery efforts with funding from sources that support hazard mitigation, climate adaptation, and disaster recovery, including the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“We are identifying a number of sources of funding that traditionally support artificial gray infrastructure, such as concrete sea walls, and that could be applied to nature-based solutions,” said lead author Michael Beck, a research professor at the Maritime Institute. . Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which holds the AXA Department of Coastal Sustainability.
Coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangrove forests act as natural barriers of waves and storm and reducing flood damage to people and property. In many places, however, the degradation of reefs and coastal wetlands has reduced their natural ability to protect the coastline from flooding and erosion. There are effective strategies for restoring these critical ecosystems, but it can be difficult to find funding for restoration projects.
Beck noted that global disaster recovery costs are more than 100 times higher than conservation costs. “Funding for recovery will increase as climate change it is increasing the effects of storms, and environmental funding is likely to shrink as national budgets are strained by natural disasters, ”he said.
The study highlights the possibilities for harmonizing conservation, reducing the risk of floods and adapting to the climate to reduce the risk of storms. “Funding for artificial infrastructure such as sea walls can be redirected to natural protection, which provides many benefits beyond coastal protection,” Beck said.
The results of the return on investment study are stable against changes in discount rates and the timing of flood protection benefits, he added. “This may sound esoteric, but it can be crucial in obtaining funding for recovery projects from sources such as FEMA,” he said.
Researchers have identified specific areas where there may be a significant return on investment to restore coral reefs and mangrove forests in the Caribbean.
Michael W. Beck et al., Return on investment for protection from mangroves and flood reefs, Ecosystem services (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.ecoser.2022.101440
University of California – Santa Cruz
Quote: The study shows that the restoration of mangroves and reefs gives a positive return on investment in flood protection (2022, June 17), extracted on June 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06 -mangrove-reef-yield-positive-investment. html
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