Flood risk in coastal areas has increased significantly in recent years. Historically, the response to this risk has been based on conventional solutions, such as building artificial dykes or enlarging or raising the elevation of infrastructure. These are all rigid and environmentally unsustainable solutions that are not readily adapted to changing climatic conditions.
However, it has been shown repeatedly that certain ecosystems, such as mangrove forests and coral reefs, help to protect coastal areas from flooding and erosion. Recovering mangroves and coral reefs therefore offers a flexible response that is easily adapted to long-term changes, such as sea-level rise, at a much lower conservation cost than artificial solutions.
This study assesses and values the economic and social benefits provided by Cuba’s mangroves and coral reefs, and concludes that both play a fundamental role in mitigating coastal flood risk.