Placing a value on wetlands ‘will improve coastal planning’

Local government planners sometimes fail to appreciate that valuations of coastal wetlands as disaster risk-reduction ecosystems can improve decision-making.

To help address the failure to adequately consider valuations, the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has published the results of a study into the economic valuation of the disaster risk reduction services provided by coastal wetlands – specifically their role in protecting property from coastal storms, floods, sea-level rise and subsidence.

Local government’s role in coastal wetland protection and management is significant – with responsibilities for land use planning and environmental management; drainage and sewage treatment services; managing many coastal wetland reserves; and providing and maintaining public infrastructure along the coast.

The study includes a literature review, expert consultation and analysis. It synthesises lessons from valuation studies of disaster risk reduction ecosystem services, and includes case studies of 148 coastal wetlands globally, and 28 wetlands, or wetland groups, in Australia.

The study analyses the variety of valuation methods used and identifies the data requirements. It makes recommendations on the next steps, including how to prioritise wetlands for valuation.

Click here to view the report.