Jamaica News: With the negative effects of climate change becoming more evident, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, is reiterating calls for Jamaicans to protect mangroves, as they help the nation to save millions during storms.
He explains that mangroves act as the first and most significant line of defence against these natural impacts from the sea. Also, their location between land and sea; their durability and flexibility, make them a haven for biodiversity, which makes them useful and productive, he adds.
The Minister, who has responsibility for the Environment, was speaking at the report launch for the ‘Forces of Nature: Assessment and Economic Valuation of Coastal Protection Services Provided by Mangroves in Jamaica’ project, on Wednesday (November 20), at The Knutsford Court Hotel.
“Without mangroves, the estimated damage from flooding would be US$169 million annually. Our mangroves are, therefore, estimated to provide US$32.7 million in protection to our coastlines. In essence, the value of our mangrove forests, in terms of flood-risk reduction, is more than US$2,500 per hectare per year,” Mr. Vaz noted.
“When you factor in the protection of approximately US$2.4 billion in assets (people and infrastructure) during storms, the value of mangroves is more than US$186 million per hectare of mangroves,” he added.
The Minister also applauded persons involved in the assessment done for the report, including representatives from The World Bank, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), University of California Santa Cruz, Programme for Grants, IH Cantabria, The Nature Conservancy and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
He said the study translates the environmental and ecological benefits of mangroves as protective agents for our coastline into a language that we all speak and understand, which is “dollars and cents”.
“It was interesting to note in the Executive Summary, that even with the presence of mangroves, the estimate of coastal flooding due to storms here in Jamaica has been put at US$136.4 million in damage,” the Minister noted.
“This study is a bit different from most of the other studies that have been undertaken, which tend to highlight the ecological and environmental impacts of natural resources such as our mangroves, our wetlands and other types of ecologically sensitive areas,” Mr. Vaz added.
Source: JIS News