Analysing the prevalence of ecosystem services in the objectives and policies of Scotland's National Marine Plan
Scotland's National Marine Plan (NMP) consists of various objectives and policies which aim to support sustainable development within the marine environment while upholding the integrity of the ecosystem through the adoption of an ‘ecosystem approach to planning’. While this approach is not new, momentum has been gaining in research for accounting for the relationships between physical, chemical, and biological elements, functions, and processes of an ecosystem in marine spatial planning. Given that the NMP is under statutory review in 2017–2018 following three years since its publication, the outputs of this paper aim to inform the review by exploring how national and sectoral objectives and policies address ecosystem service sections and phases by using the UK National Ecosystem Assessment classification system as a reference. The analysis demonstrates that cultural benefits are the most accounted for, while the cultural final services which underpin such benefits are the least accounted for. Furthermore, there are no national objectives or policies which account for provisioning final services. The paper provides 12 distinct policy recommendations to enhance the uniformity of ecosystem services in the NMP.
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