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Valuing the storm surge protection service of US Gulf Coast wetlands


  • Edward B. Barbier
  • Brian S. Enchelmeyer


Current plans for US Gulf Coast wetland restoration assume that wetlands can save lives and property by reducing storm surges. However, there have been few economic valuations of this benefit for Gulf Coast wetlands. We develop a methodology for estimating the value of wetlands in reducing expected property damages from hurricane flooding that relates damages to the distribution of storm events and incorporates both the wetland characteristics of wave attenuation and offshore storm surge properties. We apply this methodology to value the storm surge protection service of coastal marshes, in terms of reducing expected property damages, along the path of a storm south-east Louisiana, which includes New Orleans. We conclude by discussing the implications of this analysis for further research on the economic value of wetlands in protecting coastal property and for restoration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward B. Barbier & Brian S. Enchelmeyer, 2014. "Valuing the storm surge protection service of US Gulf Coast wetlands," Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 167-185, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:teepxx:v:3:y:2014:i:2:p:167-185
    DOI: 10.1080/21606544.2013.876370

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    Cited by:

    1. Barbier, Edward B., 2015. "Valuing the storm protection service of estuarine and coastal ecosystems," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 32-38.
    2. Edward B. Barbier, 2016. "The Protective Value of Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystem Services in a Wealth Accounting Framework," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(1), pages 37-58, May.

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