NBA – Economic Assessment

Place: California • Date: 2012 • Partner: Nature Conservancy 

Project Summary

A large and rapidly growing body of scientific evidence indicates that human activity is altering the earth’s climate systems, leading to profound long term environmental changes that can only be partially mitigated over the next generation. For this reason, adaptation to ongoing climate change is emerging as one of the most prominent challenges facing humanity. Many of the natural assets that are threatened by climate change can themselves make important contributions to climate defense and adaptation. Conservation, remediation, and facilitation of the environmental services offered by such assets, including wetlands, forests, farmland, riverbeds, etc., could all support our emerging adaptation needs. Better evidence is needed, however, for these approaches to be recognized and effectively integrated into public and private adaptation strategies.

This project seeks to reduce the risk of rejecting beneficial green resource management strategies, reviewing and applying a variety of tools for evaluating the net economic benefits of “nature-based adaptation” (NBA) approaches to address climate risk and compare them more effectively with conventional, engineered solutions. In addition to presenting assessment methodologies, this project applies them to a case study of flood risk in Ventura County, California, explicitly addressing projects relevant to TNC’s activities. While it application highlights one location, the tools, research findings, and policy inferences developed here can support TNC’s overall mission and other NBA strategies in similar contexts nationally and potentially globally.

The assessment and decision tools developed for this project, as well the Ventura County case study, are intended to support public policy and communications that promote nature-based actions for climate defense, risk reduction and adaptation. They will also strengthen the basis of evidence environmental stewardship, with a view to supporting conservation activities across TNC’s larger natural asset portfolio. 

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