Using a benefit-risk analysis, researchers have found that mangroves and coral reefs can be cost-effective in reducing coastal flooding, a press release from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), said. Using risk and insurance industry techniques, the researchers were able to show that the gains from reduced damage from floods outweighed the costs of restoring the corals and mangroves, leading to a favorable return on investment.

The study, “Return on investment for mangrove and reef flood protection,” was published in the journal Ecosystem Services.

The researchers found mangrove restoration opportunities that were cost-effective in 20 countries and territories, with Cuba, the U.S. and the Bahamas having the most coastal study units with cost-effective possibilities.

The results of the study could mean novel ways to aid restoration with funding from places like the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that assist with disaster recovery, climate adaptation and hazard mitigation, stated the press release.

“We identify a number of funding sources that have traditionally supported artificial ‘gray infrastructure,’ such as concrete sea walls, and that could be applied to nature-based solutions,” said lead author and research professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences at UCSC Michael Beck, who holds the AXA Chair in Coastal Resilience, in the press release.

Mangroves not only provide habitat for fish species, they also serve as a natural barrier against the effects of climate change that threaten coastal communities all over the world, reported Mapping Ocean Wealth. The coastal vegetation has aerial roots that stop erosion and retain sediments. The roots and trunks, as well as the canopy, also lessen the power of waves and storm surges to diminish flooding and its resulting damages.

Read the full article about the benefits of mangroves by Cristen Hemingway Jaynes at EcoWatch.