Santander, Jan 31 (EFE).- An international group of researchers have determined that restoring coral reefs and mangroves in coastal ecosystems is a “cost-effective solution” for flood protection.
These elements act as natural barriers against waves and storm surges, reducing the damage caused by flooding to people and property, although according to the researchers, in “many places” the degradation of reefs and wetlands “has reduced their capacity to protect coastlines from flooding and erosion.
The work is reflected in a study -in which researchers from the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics of the University of Cantabria (IHCantabria) and a group of scientists based in Germany and the United States have participated- has been published in the journal Ecosystem Services, according to The UC has collected in a press release.
To restore the critical state of these ecosystems, there are “effective strategies”, they point out, but they regret that the necessary financing to do so “is, on many occasions, difficult to find”, since it is “scarce” and is affected by spending for recovery from natural hazards and disasters.
Scientists contrast that global spending on disaster recovery is more than 100 times greater than spending on conservation, and the necessary spending on biodiversity is 100 billion dollars a year, but the international community only spends between 4 and 10 billion a year in conservation and management.
The study indicates that these ecosystems can offer a positive return in terms of investment, since it shows that the benefits derived from reducing flood damage exceed the restoration costs.
Specifically, scientists propose this solution to reduce damage caused by coastal flooding in more than twenty Caribbean countries.
As they consider, there are many places in the Caribbean where habitat restoration for risk reduction could be cost-effective, “which opens up important opportunities” to pay for its necessary restoration.
The study points to new avenues of opportunity to support efforts to restore natural habitats through entities that already support risk reduction, climate adaptation, and disaster recovery with their funding.
Now, these funding sources that have traditionally supported man-made or “grey infrastructure” can be refocused toward nature-based solutions by investing in restored “natural defences” that provide multiple benefits beyond coastal protection, the researchers say.