A recent conversation on the creation of a $25 million California Wildfire Innovation Fund touches on a risk management concept that I believe will become increasingly important moving forward.

The concept is that nature is quite adept at creating catastrophic risk buffers if we let it. In my talk with them, Jeff Huebner, chief risk officer of CSAA, and Zach Knight, CEO of Blue Forest, spoke of the need to create better biodiversity in our forests if we are going to limit wildfire damage.

They are part of a burgeoning effort to plant and manage a greater diversity of tree species, thus taking advantage of some species’ natural resistance to fire damage to reduce the probability of massive, property threatening forest blazes.

A 2021 paper on this very topic, written by researchers at Swiss Re, was entitled “Nature Is the Answer.” In it, they argued that wetlands, mangrove swamps and other naturally occurring ecosystems provide excellent buffers against stormwater surge and heavy downpours.

They estimated in 2021 that the global flood protection benefits of mangroves alone exceeded $65 billion annually. Forests and woods, they continued, also purify the air and reduce the instances of respiratory diseases.

It was recently documented that wetlands created by the work of beavers in the Lake Tahoe area saw their greenery emerge unscathed while the woods nearby were scorched and blackened by a tremendous wildfire.

It’s exciting to consider that many of the keys of climate change risk reduction have already been in place for millennia. I encourage us all to keep that in our thinking. Who knows where it might lead? &

The post Is Natural Risk Mitigation A Solution to Growing Climate Exposures? appeared first on Risk & Insurance.

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