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Webinar: Coastal Wetlands Reduce Disaster Risk, Protect Biodiversity, and Promote Human Health and Well-Being
Tuesday, 06 November 2018, 12:00
Tuesday, November 6, 2018. 12:00PM. Webinar: Coastal Wetlands Reduce Disaster Risk, Protect Biodiversity, and Promote Human Health and Well-Being. Ariana Sutton-Grier, The Nature Conservancy and Paul Sandifer, College of Charleston. Sponsored by NOAA. More information here.
There is substantial, growing literature that details positive human health effects, psychological and physiological, of exposure to “nature,” including “green” and “blue space,” with evidence suggesting that diversity of species or environments may have specific positive human health benefits. These health benefits are important ecosystem services provided by healthy ecosystems. In this presentation, we discuss several critical ecosystem services provided by wetlands including disaster risk reduction, with an emphasis on benefits to human health and well-being. Impacts to human health via damage to ecosystem services from disasters have rarely been considered in disaster planning or mitigation, nor have the health benefits been part of the framework for planning urban greenspaces and land-use. Coastal wetlands can be part of “natural and nature-based” solutions, minimizing the impacts of disasters by buffering coastal communities from storms and erosion and absorbing flood waters. In addition, mental and physical health benefits of experiencing healthy wetlands could offset some stress and disease encounters related to disasters. Thus, coastal wetlands should be part of a strategy for reducing the risk posed by disasters and facilitating recovery. We conclude with recommendations for research priorities and specific inclusion of wetlands in coastal community planning for disaster response and recovery.