Making the Business Case for Repairing Coral Reefs

Region & Country

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) is conducting an analysis to build a business case for repairing coral reefs after a hurricane by demonstrating that the losses to the economy surpass the cost of repairs.

In addition to being an integral part of coastal ecosystems and home to incredible biodiversity, coral reefs provide a range of valuable services to people and local economies such as flood protection, tourism, and a source of fish and medicine. However, the importance of these services and the role they play in coastal economies is still not fully recognized and often underestimated.

Coral reefs face a myriad of threats including climate related impacts, overfishing, declining water quality, pollution, and unsustainable coastal development. Climate change is one of the most significant stressors as increased temperatures induce coral bleaching and increase mortality, and cause algae to grow at higher rates, decreasing coral’s chance of recovering.

After a hurricane, post-storm response actions can be taken to reduce the damage caused to coral reefs. For example, loose coral fragments can be reattached to the reef substrate to increase their chance of survival. This has been a proven to be effective in Mexico, Puerto Rico , and Hawaii, among others. However, these activities can be costly due to the time and effort involved. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate that the losses to the economy without such activities are greater than the costs of the activities.

Our analysis will: 

  • estimate economic losses associated with reef damage caused by a storm; 
  • provide a cost-benefit analysis of post-storm response action; 
  • provide a cost-benefit analysis of alternative insurance mechanisms

This project is being conducted in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.

Photo: Cat Island, The Bahamas
Photo Credit: