Designing Effective Incentives to Reverse Coastal Habitat Degradation along Residential Shorelines

18 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2019

See all articles by Steven Scyphers

Steven Scyphers

Northeastern University

Michael Beck

University of California, Santa Cruz

Judy Haner

The Nature Conservancy

Andrew Keeler

East Carolina University - Department of Economics

Craig E. Landry

UGA Ag & Applied Economics

Bret Webb

University of South Alabama

Jonathan Grabowski

Northeastern University

Date Written: August 26, 2019

Abstract

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

Scyphers, Steven and Beck, Michael and Haner, Judy and Keeler, Andrew and Landry, Craig and Webb, Bret and Grabowski, Jonathan, Designing Effective Incentives to Reverse Coastal Habitat Degradation along Residential Shorelines (August 26, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3443243 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3443243

Steven Scyphers (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

220 B RP
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Michael Beck

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Judy Haner

The Nature Conservancy ( email )

Arlington, VA 22203-1637
United States

Andrew Keeler

East Carolina University - Department of Economics ( email )

Brewster Building
Greenville, NC 27858
United States

Craig Landry

UGA Ag & Applied Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-7509
United States

Bret Webb

University of South Alabama ( email )

307 University Blvd
Mobile, AL 36688
United States

Jonathan Grabowski

Northeastern University ( email )

220 B RP
Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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