Study published with the collaboration of IHCantabria shows that without the mangroves 18 million more people around the world would be threatened by flooding annually
Wednesday, 02 May 2018 11:53

Study published with the collaboration of IHCantabria shows that without the mangroves 18 million more people around the world would be threatened by flooding annually

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Today, The Nature Conservancy, Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft and the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics (IHCantabria), provide exact figures on how mangroves act as natural breakwaters and can reduce the risk of disaster for people and property in coastal areas. The authors of the study call on political decision-makers to take effective measures to protect and restore mangrove forests.

Michael Beck, Lead Marine Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, says about the findings of “The Global Value of Mangroves for Risk Reduction”: “Without mangrove forests, 18 million more people worldwide would be threatened by flooding annually. This would be 39% more people per year. The economic damage caused by floods would increase by USD 82 billion and 16% annually and by more than 240 billion in catastrophic events.”

Compared to dams or concrete walls, mangroves can be a more cost-effective way to protect against flooding. “Mangroves will play an important role in disaster response and climate change adaptation, especially for developing countries,” says Peter Mucke, Managing Director of Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft. “People in island and coastal nations are often not only exposed to a higher risk of flooding, but also have fewer resources to lessen its impact.” This is shown by the WorldRiskIndex of Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, whose data on socio-economic vulnerability were included in the joint study.

Íñigo Losada, chief scientist at IHCantabria, says: “For this study we combined rigorous methods used in engineering and economics to show how effective mangroves are as natural protection.” A 500-meter wide mangrove forest can reduce wave heights by 50 to 100%.

The study shows where mangroves provide the greatest benefits. In Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, China and the Philippines, mangroves have the greatest impact on the protection of human life, whereas inChina, the USA, India, Mexico and Vietnam, mangroves have the greatest impact on the protection of property.

Although there is evidence that mangroves play a role in disaster reduction, their importance for coastal protection is not yet sufficiently recognised. Between 1980 and 2005, 19% of the world'soriginal mangrove reserve were destroyed. Reforestation programmes have been implemented in the meantime, but they are not sufficient.

You can read the studies at the following links

Technical Report

Summary Report

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