Liu, X., Y. Wang, R. Costanza, I. Kubiszewski, M. Yuan, and L. Feng. 2019. The value of China’s coastal wetlands and seawalls for storm protection. Ecosystem Services 36: April 2019, 100905


China has relied on seawalls for storm protection along its coasts for decades. In contrast, the storm protectionfunctions of coastal wetlands are often ignored by decision makers in China. We examined 127 historical stormswith consequent economic loss to China from 1989 to 2016 and estimated the value of coastal wetlands withcontrolling for seawalls for storm protection. A regression model with the natural log of damage per unit grossdomestic product in the storm swath as the dependent variable and explanatory variables including the length ofexisting seawalls in the storm swath and the natural logs of wind speed, storm duration and wetland area in thestorm swath was highly significant and explained 59.2% of the variation in relative damages. Results show that again of 1 km2of wetlands corresponds to an average CNY 83.90 million (median = CNY 11.87 million) decreasein storm damage from specific storms. Coastal wetlands are gifts of nature and self-maintaining so they have zeroconstruction and maintenance costs. They also provide many other valuable ecosystem services that hard sea-walls do not.

Keywords: Coastal wetlands, Storm protection function, Service valuation, Regression model, Storm trajectory, Protective seawalls