The economic value of the deep sea: A systematic review and meta-analysis
The deep sea has become an area of increasing interest due to the potential for mining the seafloor for valuable minerals. However, a critical knowledge gap in terms of understanding the economic value that the deep sea provides to societies makes it extremely difficult to estimate the long term economic impacts of mining activities. This article conducts a systematic review and meta-analysis of previous literature on the economic value of the deep sea, with the objective of integrating the findings of previous literature and identifying areas for future research. 25 studies were included in the systematic review, of which 15 were included in the meta-analysis. Although the systematic review reveals a lack of sufficient data to accurately estimate the economic value of the deep sea, the meta-analysis indicates that the functioning of the deep sea as an ecosystem significantly influences the economic value that it provides to society. The limited number of studies identified, along with the broad variety in their methods, scope, valuation perspective and purpose, emphasizes the need for future research into economic value-aspects of the deep sea. More importantly, this study reveals an urgent need for further scientific research into the deep sea's ecosystem in order to ensure the resource is managed sustainably in the long-term.