As filter-feeders, freshwater mussels provide the ecosystem service (ES) of biofiltration. Chemical pollution may impinge on the provisioning of mussels' filtration services. However, few attempts have been made to estimate the impacts of chemical mixtures on mussels' filtration capacities in the field, nor to assess the economic benefits of mussel-provided filtration services for humans. The aim of the study was to derive and to apply a methodology for quantifying the economic benefits of mussel filtration services in relation to chemical mixture exposure. To this end, we first applied the bootstrapping approach to quantify the filtration capacity of dreissenid mussels when exposed to metal mixtures in the Rhine and Meuse Rivers in the Netherlands. Subsequently, we applied the value transfer method to quantify the economic benefits of mussel filtration services to surface water-dependent drinking water companies. The average mixture filtration inhibition (filtration rate reduction due to exposure to metal mixtures) to dreissenids was estimated to be <1% in the Rhine and Meuse Rivers based on the measured metal concentrations from 1999 to 2017. On average, dreissenids on groynes were estimated to filter the highest percentage of river discharge in the Nederrijn-Lek River (9.1%) and the lowest in the Waal River (0.1%). We estimated that dreissenid filtration services would save 110–12,000 euros/million m3 for drinking water production when abstracting raw water at the end of respective rivers. Economic benefits increased over time due to metal emission reduction. This study presents a novel methodology for quantifying the economic benefits of mussel filtration services associated with chemical pollution, which is understandable to policymakers. The derived approach could potentially serve as a blueprint for developing methods in examining the economic value of other filter-feeders exposed to other chemicals and environmental stressors. We explicitly discuss the uncertainties for further development and application of the method.
Ecosystem Services and Uses
Elaborating the benefits humans receive from coastal wetlands using a Cultural Ecosystem Services assessment is an emergent and important field linking human wellbeing to ecosystem function. Translating these benefits into useable concepts for environmental policymakers, and managers is challenging yet important for supporting landscape restoration projects. This study responds to the call for Cultural Ecosystem Services case studies beyond the northern hemisphere. A household survey of residents adjacent to a peri-urban coastal wetland in South Australia and an online survey of interest groups were administered to identify co-benefits associated with a coastal restoration project in the region. A dynamic/relational cultural values framework guided the analysis. Findings reveal that visitation has a positive influence; people valued most the places with which they were familiar. The analysis confirms a mutual connection between: ‘doing’ (undertaking an activity), environmental awareness and appreciation, the formation of attachment to place, and having positive experiences. The analysis also points out that the naturalness of this coastline is highly valued. The findings here diverge from previous coastal landscape assessments based singularly on scenic value. The implication is that localised, place-based landscape assessments which include cultural values, offer a more deliberative approach to policy development and planning and will more likely incorporate what matters most to people.
Aligning nature protection with human well-being for the UN Sustainable Development Goals implies that conservation monitoring should indicate the sustainability of ecosystem services (ES). Here we test the value of the ES cascade framework using national, multi-decadal data for an iconic freshwater fish, the Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. For the first time, we assemble all long-term monitoring data for England and Wales along the ES cascade for this species from resource to benefit: juvenile density to measure the biological resource, returning adult numbers to measure potential ES use, and rod catches and angling effort as measures of actual ES use. We aimed to understand how the ES cascade framework reconciled conservation with ES sustainability targets.
Only some linkages along the ES cascade could be evidenced: in catchments where juveniles declined, rod catches also generally decreased, but angling effort declined everywhere irrespective of the biological resource trends. We suggest that i) programmes focused on juvenile monitoring provide an early-warning system for ES provision as well as nature conservation, ii) the ES cascade framework can reconcile nature conservation and ES sustainability if monitoring efforts link biological resources fully to the ES, and ES monitoring explicitly relates biological resources to human use.
As urbanisation pressures on ecosystems are set to increase, trade-offs between ecosystem service are also likely to increase. Management strategies that minimise trade-offs and promote sustainable development to optimise ecosystem multi-functionality are therefore needed. Many coastal cities may however struggle to find the resources and capacity to operationalise ecosystem service agendas. Therefore, the objective of this study is to propose and test the suitability of a multi-functional landscape approach to ecosystem service assessments using the case study of Singapore, with focus on five ecosystem services: water and air pollution control, global climate, local temperature and recreational potential services. Our results show clear heterogeneity in the capacity of mangroves to supply different ecosystem services, with a general tendency for greater amounts of supply in larger mangrove patches, and for ecosystem services to aggregate producing hotspots of supply. Overall, a 24% of the mangrove landscape supported aggregations of at least one, two or three ecosystem services, but only <1% of the mangrove landscape supporting overlapping aggregations of all five services. Ecosystem services also co-varied to produce trade-offs and synergies, with ecosystem service bundling largely driven by regulating services. Areas of ecosystem service synergy and hotsport overlap represent possible priority areas of future conservation or management, and highlight what might be lost if significant degradation were allowed to occur. Further, the large spatial mismatch among ecosystem service hotspots also highlights the difficulty in identifying single areas capable of delivering substantial amounts of multiple ecosystem services. We conclude that this framework provides a basis to look at ecosystem services in combination, as well as individually, and to do so in a spatially explicit manner than can be overlaid with maps of land use or other development planning.
This study examines the marginal willingness-to-pay (MWTP) and compensating surplus (CS) in response to the policy change of ecosystem services of Sundarbans based on focus group discussion (FGD) and survey. The choice experiment approach (CE) was conducted in seven villages of Sundarbans of Bangladesh to elicit stated preference data and measure MWTP and CS. Each respondent faced three options in every choice card-two hypothetical alternatives and one status quo scheme. Four ecosystem services-payment for ecosystem services, fish, shrimp larvae, and crab capture from canals and creeks, leaves, grasses and twigs collection, and fruits and honey collection are used to design choice cards. The findings suggest that age, income, education, family composition, and occupational status are the influential factors to choice the relevant attributes of ecosystem services. Respondents would like to pay more Tk. 0.015 in option 1, Tk. 0.086 in option 2 and Tk. 0.329 in option 3 for ecosystem services. With these MWTP, they get more surplus-Tk. 0.551 in option 3. The subsequent surplus will be estimated Tk. 0.105 in option 2 and Tk. 0.078 in option 1. The lower MWTP does not necessarily imply low demand for ecosystem services, as the findings from MWTP illustrate potential demand for ecosystem services of Sundarbans.
Habitat loss and degradation are recognised as the most important causes of species decline and extinction in marine ecosystems. It is also widely recognised that a range of restoration actions are now essential to halt further decline. From a policy perspective, demonstration that restoration activity is in the interest of society is an important goal. In this paper, the welfare impacts of restoring Norwegian kelp forests to areas where they once were dominant but which now lie barren are estimated using the discrete choice modelling approach. The paper also examines if more direct contact with the environmental good under investigation influences respondents' willingness to pay to restore ecosystem features. The results indicate a positive and significant marginal societal willingness to pay for the ecosystem services associated with kelp forest restoration. The enhanced biodiversity levels as a result of the restoration activity are the most highly valued by the Norwegian public although the size of the area restored is more highly valued by respondents who are active marine environment users. It is argued that without incorporating these non-market values into the decision making process marine policy decisions may be made that are not in fact in the best interest of society.
The use of social media (SM) data has emerged as a promising tool for the assessment of cultural ecosystem services (CES). Most studies have focused on the use of single SM platforms and on the analysis of photo content to assess the demand for CES. Here, we introduce a novel methodology for the assessment of CES using SM data through the application of graph theory network analyses (GTNA) on hashtags associated to SM posts and compare it to photo content analysis. We applied the proposed methodology on two SM platforms, Instagram and Twitter, on three worldwide known case study areas, namely Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands and Easter Island. Our results indicate that the analysis of hashtags through graph theory offers similar capabilities to photo content analysis in the assessment of CES provision and the identification of CES providers. More importantly, GTNA provides greater capabilities at identifying relational values and eudaimonic aspects associated to nature, elusive aspects for photo content analysis. In addition, GTNA contributes to the reduction of the interpreter’s bias associated to photo content analyses, since GTNA is based on the tags provided by the users themselves. The study also highlights the importance of considering data from different SM platforms, as the type of users and the information offered by these platforms can show different CES attributes. The ease of application and relative short computing processing times involved in the application of GTNA makes it a cost-effective method with the potential of being applied to large geographical scales.
Traditionally, challenges of natural resource management have been addressed with a sectoral policy approach. However, it is increasingly recognised that different sectors are interconnected in a complex and mutually interacting system. A nexus approach is proposed to identify synergies and trade-offs between sectors and to foster the sustainable and efficient use of resources, particularly in light of climate change. The nexus approach has led to studies identifying interactions between policy objectives across nexus sectors, but the physical interactions between nexus sectors that can be the result of policy interactions, have received less attention. Nevertheless, such interactions can have severe consequences for the environment, affecting ecosystems and the services they provide. Integrating the nexus approach and the ecosystem service concept may help to better understand pressures and impacts related to a resource nexus and to address trade-offs. In this study, literature and expert assessment are used to analyse the water-energy-food-land-climate nexus in Sweden through the lens of the ecosystem services concept to gain insights into interactions between the nexus sectors. By demonstrating how anthropogenic pressures originating from the nexus sectors affect ecosystem functions and services, this paper serves as a foundation to further inform policy making (within and outside Sweden) when considering the water-energy-food-land-climate nexus.
Temperate Australia has extensive and diverse coast and marine habitats throughout its inshore and offshore waters. The region includes the southernmost extent of mangroves, over 500 estuaries and coastal embayments, home to extensive meadows of seagrasses and tidal saltmarsh. In areas of hard substrate, rocky reefs are abundant and productive with large forests of macroalgae. Coastal regions can be densely populated by humans and often habitats can be degraded, polluted or lost, while some remain relatively isolated and pristine. These habitats provide services to society including provision of food, regulate our climate through sequestration of carbon, treating our waste and protecting our shorelines from damage from storms. Coastal areas are culturally importantly hubs for recreation and tourism. Habitat mapping demonstrates diverse habitats throughout temperate Australia, but a formal investigation of services provided by these habitats has been lacking. This review of ecosystem services provided by coast and marine environments throughout temperate Australia reveals vast and productive ecosystems that provide multiple ecosystem services, substantial value to the Australian economy and contribute to the health and well-being of people who live in, visit of benefit from services or products from these regions. Some of these are considered within traditional economic metrics such as provision of wild catch fisheries, but this review demonstrates that regulation and maintenance services including waste treatment and protecting shorelines from extreme events are under recognized, and their value is substantial. However, consistent with many locations globally, coast and marine habitats are under threat from increasing development, sewage, agricultural, industrial discharges, urban runoff and climate change. Resultantly, temperate Australian coast and marine habitat extent and condition is generally declining in many regions, putting the provision of services and benefits to the community at risk. Continued degraded or lost habitats indicate current management frameworks are not capturing the full risk from development and there are winners and losers in trade off decision making. Incorporating ecosystem services in decision making may allow an integrated approach to management, and acknowledgment of services provided could prevent habitats from being undervalued against economic and social interests, a practice that often results in environmental degradation.
Understanding the cultural contributions of ecosystems is essential for recognising how environmental policy impacts on human well-being. We developed an integrated cultural ecosystem services (CES) valuation approach involving non-monetary valuation through a eudaemonic well-being questionnaire and monetary valuation through hedonic pricing. This approach was applied to assess CES values on the west coast of Scotland. The impact of scenic area and marine protected area (MPA) designations on CES values and potential trade-offs with aquaculture, an increasingly important provisioning ecosystem service in the region, were investigated. Results confirmed a eudaemonic well-being value structure of seven factors: engagement and interaction with nature, place identity, therapeutic value, spiritual value, social bonds, memory/transformative value, and challenge and skill. Visibility of, but not proximity to aquaculture negatively influenced housing prices. In contrast, proximity to MPAs and visibility of scenic areas increased property values. All eudaemonic well-being value factors were positively and significantly associated with scenic areas and a subset of these with MPAs. The integration of the two methods can provide decision-makers with a more comprehensive picture of CES values, their relation to conservation policies and interactions and trade-offs with other activities and services.