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Measuring and Valuing the Services of Mangroves and Coral Reefs

February 2016

"Learning from the engineering and insurance sectors, we can do a much better job of directly measuring the flood reduction benefit. By comparing the expected flood damages with the damages that would occur if reefs and mangroves were lost, we obtain a difference that represents the value of having those resources in place."
- Mike Beck, Lead Marine Scientist, The Nature Conservancy

It is well documented that reefs and mangroves reduce the impact of waves hitting coasts, thus decreasing the risks of flooding and erosion. But until now, the economic argument for investing in such habitats has been less clear. Managing Coasts with Natural Solutions: Guidelines for Measuring and Valuing the Coastal Protection Services of Mangroves and Coral Reefs seeks to address this evidence gap and to reorient the cost-benefit analysis between built or “gray infrastructure,” and “green infrastructure” based on environmental processes.

In a ground-breaking approach to measuring the benefits of ecosystem services, Lead Marine Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, Michael Beck—who co-led the report with Glenn-Marie Lange, Technical Advisor for the World Bank Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) Global Partnership, with support from the University of California (UC) Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and Resources for the Future—applied assessment techniques commonly used in the engineering and insurance sectors.

Report: Managing Coasts with Natural Solutions
Report: Managing Coasts with Natural Solutions