Innovations in Climate Resilient Coastal Zones (The Bahamas)
The Bahamian government and people seek a more locally sustainable economy that is buffered from both global trade and climate shocks due to increasing intensity and frequency of hurricanes. Understanding where, and how much, natural capital assets (including coral reefs, seagrasses, mangroves, coppice forests, etc.) can provide protection and livelihood support is enabling the government and communities to build nature-positive and climate resilient development paths into the future.
NatCap worked with The Bahamian government and local communities to quantify the ecosystem services benefits from coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses under alternative development scenarios for lobster fisheries, tourism and coastal resilience. The results are now codified in Andros Island's Master Plan (representing a majority of the land area in country). NatCap also conducted a (1) national scale coastal vulnerability assessment, spatially quantifying where ecosystems are providing the most protective value, and in contrast, highlighting the most vulnerable areas to hurricanes and sea-level rise; and (2) an economic valuation of the marine protected area (MPA) network in the country. As a result, the IDB has granted two innovative loans to support The Bahamas' blue economy, through green infrastructure projects along imperiled coastlines and investment in improved management in new and existing MPAs. NatCap is helping develop a baseline for the MPA network loan so changes in ecosystem service benefits can be documented as loan performance indicators. The coastal vulnerability, fisheries, and tourism InVEST models are being used in The Bahamas application.
Project partners include The Bahamian Office of the Prime Minister, Inter-American Development Bank, and University of The Bahamas. Funding: Inter-American Development Bank