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The Protective Value of Nature summarizes the latest science on the effectiveness of natural infrastructure in lowering the risks to communities from weather- and climate-related hazards—benefits that we often describe as “natural defenses.” Over the past two decades, the body of research evaluating and quantifying the protective performance of natural infrastructure has increased significantly. Both model-based assessments and empirical evidence from recent floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters underscore the considerable risk reduction services that natural systems such as wetlands, reefs, dunes, floodplains, and forests provide. At the same time, natural infrastructure offers numerous additional benefits to society, from provision of food and clean water for people and habitat for fish and wildlife, to recreational opportunities, and cultural and spiritual fulfillment...This report, which builds on two previous publications published by the National Wildlife Federation, Allied World, and other partners (Natural Defenses from Hurricanes and Floods [Glick et al. 2014] and Natural Defenses in Action [SmallLorenz et al. 2016]), is intended to synthesize and elevate the latest science to enhance awareness of the benefits of natural defenses and increase understanding of their effectiveness.

Full Report (Pdf)