This research empirically investigated the protection service provided by mangroves after super typhoon “Haiyan” devastated central Philippines in November 2013. Using data on 384 coastal villages controlling for historical mangrove cover and other confounding village level characteristics in examining the influence of remaining mangrove vegetation on human deaths and housing damage. Results show that coastal villages with substantial mangrove cover suffered less damage compared to coastal villages with reduced mangrove cover. The life- and property-saving effects of mangroves is robust across several specifications suggesting that the remaining mangrove cover played a significant protective role when the super typhoon hit central Philippines. The estimated average cost of saving a life, by retaining the remaining mangrove vegetation, amounts to as much as USD 302,000 (PHP 15 million) while the estimated reduction in compensation for totally damaged houses is around USD 53,000. Empirical findings of the study provide additional evidence on the role of mangroves in protecting coastal communities during typhoons. Policy makers now have additional reason to intensify efforts to conserve mangrove forests as a long-term strategy in providing protection to coastal communities and better adaptability to typhoon-related disasters.
Valuing the Protection Service Provided by Mangroves in Typhoon-hit Areas in the Philippines