Coping with Natural Hazards: Coastal Ecosystems' Protective Services and Role in Shaping Informal Risk-Sharing and Shock Coping

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Extreme climate variability increasingly threatens many Global South coasts. Storm surges and inundation damage the production, livelihood, and daily life of millions of people who are residing in coastal regions. Traditional solutions have been hard infrastructure – the sea dike – and tactical interventions such as early warning and evacuation. These interventions have neither sufficiently prevented nor substantially alleviated the impact of the current and future hazards. 

In this project, we focus on the “green infrastructure”, the marine and coastal ecosystem, as a solution for natural disaster risk management. We also look at the interactions between the “green infrastructure” and “soft infrastructure”, which is an informal risk-sharing network and shock coping strategies. In particular, we will (1) value the protective services of the coastal ecosystems; (2) examine how coastal wetlands mediate the community’s informal risk-sharing mechanism and (3) understand how the coastal ecosystem affects household’s shock coping strategy i.e., migration and remittance. The studied sites are in India and Vietnam.   

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, we will utilize a combination of biophysical models and damage mitigation production function, employing the Expected Damage Function (EDF) approach. The EDF will control socio-economic, geo-physical, meteorological, bathymetric, as well as administrative factors and will draw information from multiple databases including remote-sensing and cartographic files. We will employ economic experiments to capture informal risk-sharing motives and behaviors. In all analytical models we use geophysical satellite data to construct natural hazard’s impacts and features of the coastal habitats. 

The main contribution of this project would be to provide an insight into the role of coastal ecosystem and the mechanisms used by rural households to smooth income and consumption under natural hazard risks. 

Project status
Financed by
Environment for Development initiative
Project | 6 December 2023