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Assessment and Economic Valuation of Coastal Protection Services Provided by Mangroves in Jamaica


Jamaica’s coastal areas play vital economic and social roles and reduce vulnerability to natural hazards. Protecting and restoring these coastal habitats is both an opportunity and a need. Targeting mangrove ecosystems could increase resilience to climate change, reduce the risk to disasters in coastal areas, and provide co-benefits associated to livelihoods maintenance (i.e. tourism) and food security (i.e. fisheries). This activity will support the Government of Jamaica in promoting cost-effective coastal protection measures through mangrove ecosystems enhancement.


This activity will undertake the following components:
  1. Measure physical data on the natural capital associated with mangrove forests of varying quality in Jamaica;
  2. Estimate the coastal protection services provided by mangroves, including as an economic value;
  3. Undertake a habitat risk assessment to evaluate the risk posed to mangrove habitats by human activities, and identify the potential reduction of ecosystem services involved in coastal protection;
  4. Conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis, comparing different coastal protection measures and associated co-benefits.


This project has been completed. Final outputs delivered as part of this effort include: 

  1. The Mangrove Monitoring and Evaluation Manual-Jamaica.This provides detailed instructions on replicating the monitoring methods for mangrove forests - ecological, biophysical and socio-economic aspects. This Manual is applicable to other small island developing states, as well as other tropical countries. In addition, the online mapping tools are capable of providing mapped outputs for other projects, is publicly open for all audiences, and is adaptable overtime. The workshops throughout the project provided stakeholders with theoretical and hands on capacity building in the elements of the data collection for them to replicate within their organizations. 
  2. online tool for coastal management and risk reduction
  3. The Final Dissemination Report entitled Forces of Nature: Assessment and Economic Valuation of Coastal Protection Services Provided by Mangroves in Jamaica. This report supports the growing interest within the development agenda to include nature-based solutions for disaster risk management (DRM), and provides vital information for discussion on climate change adaptation and mitigation, insurance, and disaster recovery decisions. This report provides knowledge on the current health status of Jamaican mangroves, how the loss of mangroves can increase coastal flood risk and identifies potential risk reduction measures. It also presents important data on benefits beyond coastal protection such as erosion control, water quality, carbon sequestration, and fisheries provision, which can have significant implications on poverty reduction.
The projects outputs and Forces of Nature report were launched at a 2-day event in Jamaica which was covered by national and international platforms.  
The key findings on value of coastal protection provided by mangroves, the wind and wave energy reduction and the economic values of mangrove co-benefits are valuable lessons on the positive impacts of mangrove forests. It is important to note the percent reduction in damage (due to mangroves) has been found to be similar in other similar projects globally. The coastal protection assessment at the site level provided some real-life examples in particular for Portland Bight (with reference to historical storm damage and the differences that would’ve occurred with or without mangroves).  
In addition, this technical assistance was innovative in the way it was designed for capacity building at the local level. The team made a great effort in engaging a local firm instead of bringing international firms alone. This helped establishing scientific knowledge in Jamaica, and the capacity to implement similar work in the future by Caribbean nationals. As a result, the University of West Indies, which is the strongest in the Caribbean Region, has the experience and capacity to conduct work with multilateral organizations, and is able to closely support the government of Jamaica (and others) on the execution of similar work that will help inform national and regional policies. 
Finally, the work performed through the data visualization has provided a basis for other projects to explore innovative ways in which complex scientific data can be translated into simple illustrations and infographics that could help communicate important results to audiences from different backgrounds.

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Last Updated : 06-08-2020