Wetland Ecosystems Economically Save Valuable Assets and Lives

Sunday, November 6, 2022
by Toni Pankaluic

Our wetlands have been under threat by many factors for decades such as agriculture fertiliser runoff and property development to name a few… but did you realise that coastal wetlands actually can save lives and protect coastal properties from damage?

4ZZZ's Eliot Rifkin chatted with Diane Jarvis an environmental economist  from James Cook University about how wetlands save valuable assets and lives as well as wetlands' eco-system contribution.

For a deep dive:

Diane Jarvis’ research portfolio  Here’s Diane Jarvis’ Wetland’s economic evaluation paper on how coastal wetlands act as a buffer to storm surge damages and save globally US $447bn per year as well as more than 4000 per lives per year. It was published in Global Environmental Change.

Here’s the paper's accompanying story map expressed in easy to understand language. As well as a video by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction video

Diane has co-authored another JCU paper with researcher, Dr Adam Canning on novel ways of using financial incentives for both protecting as well as restoring wetlands: Here's the links to the Storm paper and the Restoration of Wetalnds using financial incentives paper

The cyclone track database she used can be found here and the NCDC International Track Archive data

Some other related links:

The Conversation also ran a story on wetland ecosystems economic value  TropWater's video on why we need to protect wetlands as well as the TropWater site  

Becoming an environmental economist who deals with the relationship between people (society / economy) and the environment.  Visit the JCU subject webpage   The Cairns campus Business undergraduate degree curriculum  in environmental economics subjects includes:  environmental economics, economics of natural resource use as well as environmental planning, environmental management, etc)

Environmental economist aid in creating sustainable policies analysing  how people use and benefit from the environment’s natural resources – by both businesses and outside of markets – including leisure and recreation, cultural uses, and ecosystem services (providing food, regulating the climate, absorbing waste etc).  These economists also look at how these environment uses by people impact on the environment itself.  Then it can be determined how economic incentives (taxes, subsidies) can be used to change peoples behaviours to help reduce pollution and prevent over-exploitation of natural resources.


Toni Pankaluic

Toni Pankaluic is a Journalist and contributor to Brisbane Line

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