The World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) global partnership, has released a new report that sheds light on how to best value natural solutions for coastal protection. This effort was achieved through collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). The report, “Managing Coasts with Natural Solutions: Guidelines for Measuring and Valuing the Coastal Protection Services of Mangroves and Coral Reefs”, lays out a path to measure the protective services of mangroves and coral reefs. With more than $300 billion paid out by insurers for coastal storm damages in the past 10 years, the Guidelines draw on common valuation approaches used by insurance and engineering industries.
Mangroves and coral reefs provide significant coastal protection benefits. A 500-meter-wide mangrove belt can reduce wave height between 50 to a full 100 percent. Coral reefs protect against erosion, and can also reduce wave energy up to 97 percent. The Guidelines provide examples of nature-based solutions currently being implemented around the world, such as mangrove reforestation in Vietnam, and a cash-for-work program in the Philippines to restore coastlines hit hardest after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
The valuation of these services can provide a strong incentive for policy-makers to better manage these critical ecosystems. These Guidelines can help leaders understand how cost-effective natural habitats can be at reducing flood risks, and can hopefully inspire more investment in their conservation worldwide.
Read more on the Nature Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science
Learn more about the SNAPP Coastal Defenses Working Group