Rice paddy fields' hidden value for typhoon protection in coastal areas

Xin Liu, Yebao Wang, Robert Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski, Ning Xu, Zhiqiang Gao, Mei-Hua Yuan, Ruiying Geng, He Chen, Xiaoke Hu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Rice paddy cultivation has rooted in the Asian culture for thousands of years. At present, paddy fields as traditional agriculture in Asia provide not only ecosystem goods including rice and fibre production, but also other ecosystem services for human society. However, it is still not clear whether rice paddy fields like coastal wetlands provide typhoon protection function, although it is often regarded as a kind of artificial wetlands. We examined the relationship between the economic damages caused by typhoons and the presence of paddy fields with controlling for confounding variables including wind speed, typhoon duration and protective structures such as seawalls from 1989 to 2016 for China. Five economic regression models were proposed based on a variety of observation data coupled with GIS method. We found that paddy fields substitute for natural wetlands in mitigating the growing threat from typhoons in a changing climate. However, dry croplands appear not to provide a protective role to reduce typhoon damage. Using the multiple regression model we estimated the economic value of protection from typhoon damages provided by paddy fields to be an average of CNY 530,474/km2 and a median of CNY 127,436/km2 in China. This finding, if confirmed by renewed studies in the future, will have a significant impact on both ecosystem valuation of paddy fields and coastal management to mitigate the effect of natural disasters in a sustainable way.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    JournalEcological Indicators
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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