Ecosystem-Service Assessment: Research Needs for Coastal Green Infrastructure

The Coastal Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services Task Force of the National Science and Technology Council has recommended priority areas of research to support the integration of green infrastructure into coastal resilience planning. This report focuses on the ecosystem services provided by coastal green infrastructure (CGI) and recommends areas for prioritized Federal research to support the integration of CGI.

The report responds to recommendations in the Federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy by: 

- providing key information needed by Federal planners and decision-makers to advance the broad integration of CGI; and

- identifying priority research topics related to the use of CGI to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience to climate-related threats in coastal areas.

The report summarizes existing information on major categories of CGI and associated ecosystem services, including co-benefits.  It explains the purpose of, approaches to, and challenges associated with assessing and integrating ecosystem service considerations into planning and decision making. Overall, it is effectively demonstrated that CGI can enhance coastal resilience, reduce vulnerability and risk, and deliver many valuable co-benefits.

As described in more detail in the report, several types of CGI provide ecosystem services (such as wave and wind attenuation, soil stabilization and sediment capture, and water flow and flood regulation) can support resiliency to coastal climate impacts. These types of CGI primarily include salt marshes, mangroves, reefs, seagrass beds, and sand beaches and dunes, as well as hybrid approaches that combine one or more of these features with non-natural structures.

The final section of the report recommends areas for prioritized Federal research to support the integration of CGI into risk reduction, resilience planning, and decision-making. The Task Force presents a number of priority research recommendations for Federal departments and agencies under five topics:

  • Metrics
  • Production functions
  • Ecosystem-service valuation
  • Social factors
  • Decision support


Publication Date: August 2015

Related Organizations:

  • National Science and Technology Council


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations


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