Seagrass ecosystem contributions to people's quality of life in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories
Seagrass ecosystems provide critical contributions (goods and perceived benefits or detriments) for the livelihoods and wellbeing of Pacific Islander peoples. Through in-depth examination of the contributions provided by seagrass ecosystems across the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), we find a greater quantity in the Near Oceania (New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands) and western Micronesian (Palau and Northern Marianas) regions; indicating a stronger coupling between human society and seagrass ecosystems. We also find many non-material contributions historically have been overlooked and under-appreciated by decision-makers. Closer cultural connections likely motivate guardianship of seagrass ecosystems by Pacific communities to mitigate local anthropogenic pressures. Regional comparisons also shed light on general and specific aspects of the importance of seagrass ecosystems to Pacific Islanders, which are critical for forming evidence-based policy and management to ensure the long-term resilience of seagrass ecosystems and the contributions they provide.