Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

John Callaway


Climate change effects pose a major threat to coastal cities. Sea-level rise and an increase in hurricane intensity will increase the need for protection for these communities. Wetland ecosystems provide key protective services to the cities that lie behind them. Mangroves are a coastal wetland with benefits such as wave attenuation, carbon sequestration, and shoreline management. Mangrove’s habitat range will expand northward as climate change progresses. With a 2-4°C increase in winter temperature extremes black mangroves are projected to be able to inhabit the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The viability of using mangrove forests as future protection for the Houston Galveston area was evaluated with the conditions of replacing the native salt marshes entirely with mangroves. The total net cost of the endeavor was calculated by placing monetary prices on each of the 5 identified benefits to give a range of total projected prices. Using spatial analysis four areas in the region were identified as being areas of high ecological value while accounting for costs. When compared to current protection plans for the study area would be economically viable and beneficial to the region. Annual benefits totaling 60 million dollars would benefit the region for as long as the mangroves are present. Utilizing the areas highlighted in the spatial analysis to focus current wetland restoration can provide more effective immediate protection. The tailoring of specific economic models to the region would prove a more dialed in price estimation.