Economics of Nature-Based Adaptation

What is the Economics of Nature-Based Adaptation app?

Economics of Nature-Based Adaptation allows you to explore current and future risks from coastal hazards and to compare the cost-effectiveness of nature-based adaptation (green) to coastal armoring approaches (gray), and even hybrid solutions that reduce risks and avert damages across the coast in Monterey and Ventura Counties in California. It helps us understand what drives coastal risk and helps to inform adaptation decisions.

Main functions:

  1. Assess future risk to sea level rise and related flooding and coastal hazards by evaluating expected damage from storms under various climate and adaptation scenarios
  2. Visualize the benefits of stakeholder selected nature-based adaptation approaches vs our traditional engineering-heavy armoring approaches and even hybrid coastal adaptation solutions
Who should use it?

Usability Testing with Stakeholders. Photo Credit: Lily Verdone/The Nature Conservancy

Risk assessments and cost-benefit analyses that incorporate natural defenses are relevant for insurers, lenders, agencies, and communities that are seeking viable and cost-effective solutions for reducing risk.

How does it work?

Decision-makers can explore which adaptation alternatives perform the best across a variety of assumptions, such as the frequency of storm evens, coastal hazards and sea level rise, economic discount rates, and the monetary value of ecosystem services.

EBNA App in Action

What are the strengths?
  1. Stakeholders helped to develop the most realistic adaptation approaches for each region.
  2. The app demonstrates the effectiveness of nature-based approaches to buffer the impacts of coastal hazards on our coastal communities and their financial resources.
  3. The information presented in this app can help societies better understand the climate risk to their economies and provide vital input into impactful, cost-effective adaptation strategies that boost overall economic development.


Where is it being used?

The app is currently being used in Ventura, California (with anticipated expansion to Monterey, CA in early 2017) to demonstrate that future risks from coastal hazards will be significant and to illustrate that a suite of cost effective solutions, including nature based defenses, can reduce risk and avert damages for millions of people in the region. The cost-effectiveness of adaptation solutions depends significantly on where these projects are implemented, and information contained in this app should influence local and regional adaptation priorities.

Dunes at Ormond Beach, Ventura County. Photo credit: Carey Batha

Who helped develop it?

The Nature Conservancy has long been active in California protecting and restoring critical habitats.  Through a long-term partnership with the Center for Integrated Spatial Research (CISR) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), the app was developed and launched in late 2016.