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CoastWEB – Valuing the contribution which coastal habitats make to human health and wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of natural hazards

CoastWEB aims to holistically value the contribution which coastal habitats – and in particular saltmarshes in Wales - make to human health and wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of coastal natural hazards and extreme events. The research is funded through the NERC Valuing Nature programme and is interdisciplinary in its scope, including art, psychosocial narrative research, environmental economics, governance, policy, a suite of natural sciences, and non-academic stakeholders. It also covers a range of scales from local Welsh case study sites to UK national analyses. Despite increasing recognition of connections between the natural environment and human health and wellbeing, these links are still poorly understood. The ecosystem services paradigm improves understanding of the benefits provided by the natural environment, but stops short of meaningful insights into broader health and wellbeing benefits. There is a real need to develop methodological approaches to fully elucidate natural environments for health and wellbeing. Strategies need to co-evolve such that they articulate with the range of intangible values and in ways that can improve opportunities for expressing the inexpressible. This project aims to address this gap in the conceptual and methodological literature. Work at Cardiff will adopt narrative psychosocial methods, developed during the earlier Energy Biographies project, to investigate the meaning and value of saltmarshes to participants.

Personnel:

Cardiff University – Karen Henwood, Nick Pidgeon, and Rhoda Ballinger (Earth Sciences)

External – Nicola Beaumont (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, co-ordinator), Martin Skov (Bangor University), Iris Möller (Cambridge University), Simon Read (Middlesex University), Angus Garbutt (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), John Griffin and Gamage Karunarathna (Swansea University) and Brett Day (Exeter University)

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