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Coastal wetlands are increasingly recognised for their pivotal role in mitigating the growing threats from cyclones (including hurricanes) in a changing climate. There is, however, insufficient information about the economic value of coastal wetlands for cyclone mitigation, particularly at regional scales. Analysis of data from 1990–2012 shows that the variation of cyclone frequencies is related to EI Niño strength in the Pacific Ocean adjacent to Australia, but not China. Among the cyclones hitting the two countries, there are significant relationships between the ratio of total economic damage to gross domestic production (TD/GDP) and wetland area within cyclone swaths in Australia, and wetland area plus minimum cyclone pressure despite a weak relationship in China. The TD/GDP ratio is significantly higher in China than in Australia. Despite their extensive and growing occurrence, seawalls in China appear not to play a critical role in cyclone mitigation, and cannot replace coastal wetlands, which provide other efficient ecosystem services. The economic values of coastal wetlands in Australia and China are respectively estimated at US$52.88 billion and 198.67 billion yr−1 for cyclone mitigation, albeit with large within-country geographic variation. This study highlights the urgency to integrate this value into existing valuations of coastal wetlands.

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This page is a summary of: Spatially-explicit valuation of coastal wetlands for cyclone mitigation in Australia and China, Scientific Reports, February 2018, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-21217-z.
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