Designing Effective Incentives to Reverse Coastal Habitat Degradation along Residential Shorelines
18 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 26, 2019
Nature-based strategies for erosion control and coastal protection, such as “living shorelines”, are rapidly gaining traction among conservation scientists and practitioners. Living shorelines are often described as environmentally preferable alternatives to traditional shoreline armoring, which degrades natural coastal habitats and contributes to biodiversity loss in coastal ecosystems. However, a transition away from traditional armoring along many residential coastlines has been slow. We studied the attitudes, beliefs, and decisions of waterfront homeowners with natural vs. armored shorelines with a focus on identifying effective incentives for implementing living shorelines and reversing coastal habitat loss. We show that while only 18% of homeowners with vertical walls would willingly transition to a living shoreline, a modest economic incentive during a key window of opportunity could potentially persuade approximately 40% to reconsider. Our study demonstrates the critical importance of understanding the social, economic, and environmental influences on individual landowner decisions to develop effective strategies for coastal habitat conservation and restoration along private shorelines.
Keywords: Decision-making; Ecological restoration; Living shorelines; Participatory conservation; Social-ecological systems; Urban landscapes
JEL Classification: D90, Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation