A Nobel prize-winning economic theory used by investors is showing early signs of helping save threatened coral reefs, scientists say.
Researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland used modern portfolio theory (MPT), a mathematical framework developed by the economist Harry Markowitz in the 1950s to help risk-averse investors maximise returns, to identify the 50 reefs or coral sanctuaries around the world that are most likely to survive the climate crisis and be able to repopulate other reefs, if other threats are absent.
The study recommends targeting investment in conservation projects that have the “strongest potential to succeed” in protecting priority reefs. The gains go beyond positive ecological outcomes and include crucial social, economic, health and nutritional benefits for communities, according to partners, organisations and funders interviewed by Blue Earth Consultants.
Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a climate scientist at the…