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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

The recent tsunami in Japan showed how even monumental built capital (levees, sea walls and artificial barrier islands) can be overcome by just one severe environmental event. The 2006 tsunami in Southeast Asia showed how natural capital (mangroves, coral reefs) can protect lives and property. Similarly, research and observations in the wake of recent hurricanes that have affected the Caribbean islands and the United States have demonstrated that natural systems can play critical roles in buffering people against coastal storm impacts. Our SNAP Working Group, will exploring how conserving existing coastal habitat and restoring what has been lost can help protect coastal communities and livelihoods from the impacts that result from storms – such as hydro-meteorological hazards like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina -- and other extreme environmental events. Our Working group composed of leaders from coastal engineering, conservation, ecology, aid and development will: 1) Provide evidence on when, where and how investments in natural defenses are cost-effective; 2) Develop practical guidance and tools for decision-makers and practitioners to implement solutions; 3) Identify policy and financial incentives that lead to reduced risks for people and nature. This project is supported by the Science for Nature and People (SNAP) initiative, generously funded through founding grants by Shirley and Harry Hagey, Steve and Roberta Denning, Ward W. Woods, Jr., Seth Neiman, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Working Group Participants

Principal Investigator(s)

Michael W. Beck, Jane Carter Ingram

Project Dates

Start: November 1, 2013

End: June 30, 2016



Montserrat Acosta-Morel
The Nature Conservancy
Vera N. Agostini
The Nature Conservancy
Katie Arkema
Natural Capital Project
Michael W. Beck
The Nature Conservancy
Eron Bloomgarden
EKO Asset Management Partners
David Bresch
Swiss Re
Todd Bridges
US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Mark A. Browne
University of California, Santa Barbara
Kelly A. Burks-Copes
US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Christina Chan
US Department of State
Jessica Couture
University of California, Santa Barbara
Carolina Aguirre Echeverri
Tufts University
Guillermo Franco
Guy Carpenter
LeeAnne French
University of California, Santa Barbara
Ashley A. Geary
Wildlife Conservation Society
Craig Groves
The Nature Conservancy
Anne D. Guerry
Stanford University
Judy Haner
The Nature Conservancy
Jane Carter Ingram
Wildlife Conservation Society
Jim Jarvie
Mercy Corps
Stacy D. Jupiter
Wildlife Conservation Society
Jaap C.J. Kwadijk
Robert Lalasz
The Nature Conservancy
Glenn-Marie Lange
World Bank
Caleb McClennen
Wildlife Conservation Society
Imèn Meliane
The Nature Conservancy
Sarah Murdock
The Nature Conservancy
Siddharth Narayan
University of California, Santa Barbara
Nigel Pontee
Borja Reguero
The Nature Conservancy
Fabrice Renaud
United Nations University
Inigo Losada J. Rodriguez
Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental de Cantabria
Cristina M. Rumbaitis del Rio
Rockefeller Foundation
James N. Sanchirico
University of California, Davis
Fernando Secaira
The Nature Conservancy
Dania Trespalacios
The Nature Conservancy
Bregje van Wesenbeeck
Paul S. Wilson
Risk Management Solutions, Inc.


  1. Journal Article / 2016

    Prioritising mangrove ecosystem services results in spatially variable management priorities

  2. Report or White Paper / 2015

    Coastal risk reduction: Integrating natural defenses into a sustainable coastal rick management framework

  3. Presentations / 2015

    Ecology, economics, and engineering of nature-based coastal defenses

  4. Report or White Paper / 2015

    Guidelines for coastal and marine ecosystem accounting: Incorporating the protective service values of coral reefs and mangroves in national wealth accounts

  5. Journal Article / 2018

    The global flood protection savings provided by coral reefs

  6. Report or White Paper / 2015

    Protecting against coastal hazards in Manus and New Ireland provinces Papua New Guinea: An assessment of present and future options

  7. Presentations / 2015

    Reviewing the evidence for risk reduction by natural coastal habitats world-wide: When and where they have worked

  8. Report or White Paper / 2016

    Coastal wetlands and flood damage reduction: Using industry-based models to assess natural defenses in the northeastern USA

  9. Data Set / 2016

    Effectiveness, Costs and Benefits of Nature-based Defences for Wave Reduction

  10. Journal Article / 2016

    The effectiveness, costs, and coastal protection benefits of natural and nature-based defences

  11. Journal Article / 2017

    The value of coastal wetlands for flood damage reduction in the Northeastern USA

  12. Journal Article / 2016

    Nature-based solutions: Lessons from around the world

  13. Journal Article / 2018

    Comparing the cost effectiveness of nature-based and coastal adaptation: A case study from the Gulf Coast of the United States

  14. Journal Article / 2016

    Coastal and riverine ecosystems as adaptive flood defenses under a changing climate

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