The mismatch between the conceptual understanding of the Ecosystem Services (ES) in science, and their practical application, remains. Among the many issues under discussion is the link between knowledge and implementation. Base knowledge built over cases studies exist, but their usefulness for site-specific management purposes is limited. The goal of this work is to illustrate how gap analysis at the local level may contribute to the development of ES research and knowledge transfer. A review of coastal ES was performed, based on peer-reviewed journals, grey literature and other sources, allocating the information per European Nature Information System aquatic habitat coupled with the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services. Then, a multicriteria decision-making approach was applied to find ES research hotspots, i.e., habitats for which ES research should be prioritized. Three criteria were used: abundance of ES, evidence for the supply of ES, and strength of evidence. The criteria were considered suitable for coastal areas where profound gaps in ES research exist. The Atlantic coastal region adjacent to the Mondego River was used as case study. 231 current and potential ES were listed and mapped for 21 coastal habitats. Cultural services arose as the dominant category. Saltworks emerged as the most recommended habitat for ES research. Results are in accordance with local decision-makers trends of management; we consider the approach to be appropriate as a first step towards the operationalization of the ES concept and flexible enough to be readapted to focus on critical questions that characterize ES research.
Ecosystem Services and Uses
Coastal ecosystems provide a broad range of ecosystem services, which can be used to justify habitat conservation. The cultural ecosystem services of coastal ecosystems are generally underappreciated, and this is particularly the case when quantifying their scientific value. We created a tiered set of indicators to quantify scientific value spatially, and tested them using the case study of the island nation of Singapore. We conducted a systematic review of research papers, book chapters, conference reports and academic theses produced across 10 coastal ecosystems in Singapore, including mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, beaches and artificial coastal structures. At least 656 articles have been produced on Singapore’s coastal zone, with 2201 unique observations, showing that scientific value is spatially variable along Singapore’s coastline. Novel indicators such as the Site Impact Factor are able to differentiate scientific value between sites. This method has shed light on an under-recognised, but important cultural ecosystem service, and is applicable to other spatially-bounded coastal, marine and terrestrial landscapes.
In this paper we explore the challenges for transforming a wide and fragmented coastal governance system toward an ecosystem-based regime by translating shared values of nature into radically novel territorial development policies at highly disputed seascapes. We report an official coastal management institutional experiment in South Brazil, where direct ecosystem users (fishers, miners, mariculture, tourism and leisure, and aquatic transport agents and researchers) perception and classification of ecosystem services (ES) was assessed during 19 collaborative sectoral workshops held with 178 participants from six coastal cities surrounding Babitonga Bay estuarine and coastal ecosystems (Santa Catarina state, South Brazil). Participants collectively enlisted the benefits, rights and resources (or services) they obtain from these ecosystems, rendering a total of 285 citations coded to conventional ES scientific typologies (127 ES grouped in 5 types and 31 subtypes). We explore patterns in ES classificatory profiles, highlighting ecosystem user’s salient identities and exploring how they shape political actions in relation to the implementation of an ecosystem-based management regime. Food (provisioning service), tourism/leisure, employment, work and income (cultural services) as well as transportation (e.g. vessels, ports and navigation) (cultural/people’s services) are perceived by all user groups, and hence consist the core set of perceived shared values amongst direct ecosystem users to inform future transformation narratives. Differences in perception of values amongst user groups combined with high levels of power asymmetry and fragmentation in decision-making, are steering the analyzed system toward an unsustainable pathway. The governance regime has been largely favoring subsets of services and unfair distribution of benefits, disregarding a more diverse array of real economic interests, and potential ecological knowledge contributions. Our integrative and deliberative ES valuation approach advances understanding of critical features of the scoping phase of ES assessment initiatives in coastal zones. We provide empirically grounded and theoretically informed suggestions for the promotion of local knowledge integration through combination of methods that supports transformational research agendas. This paper establishes new groundwork to fulfilling alternative visions for the regional social-ecological system transformation to a more socially and ecologically coherent and equitable development trajectory.
WWF and CoNISMa outline an adaptive methodology for evaluating key economic benefits, potentially applicable in different Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The study was piloted in 6 MPAs: 3 MPAs with an official mission and long-term management plans – Egadi Islands MPA (Italy), Telašćica Nature Park (Croatia), Torre Guaceto MPA (Italy) – and 3 not-yet officially gazetted MPA without an operational management plan – Gouraya National Park, Taza National Park in Algeria and Tabarka Marine and Coastal Protected Area in Tunisia.
Ecosystem Services (ESs) are assuming a constantly increasing importance in management practices due to their key role in ensuring a sustainable future to fauna and flora on Earth. In addition, ES degradation and quality loss jeopardize current human activities. For this reason, it is essential to develop methodologies and practices able to efficiently assess environmental and socio-economic impacts in terms of ES deterioration, especially within protected areas. Norms and regulations have to be able to identify habitat and species categories to be preserved, and to determine the cost of their destruction and decline, according to a holistic vision, which includes social and economic impacts, besides the environmental ones. The paper illustrates the case study of the “Isola dell’Asinara” Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Sardinia, where an experimental methodology was developed with the aim to draw new regulations that integrate conservation measures of Natura 2000 sites included in its territory, provisions determined by the integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) protocol and the Standardized Actions for Effective Management of MPAs (ISEA) project. Subsequently, in order to assess the status of ESs and impacts on ESs located within the MPA territory, an ecosystem-based approach was implemented and applied to the actions defined for the new regulation proposal. Results show that regulations are in this way valuably enriched by environmental aspects of the MPA that would otherwise be overlooked.
Ecosystem services, as public goods, are often undersupplied because private markets do not fully take into account the social cost of production. To alleviate the concern about this imbalance situation, payments for ecosystem services (PES) have emerged as a preferable alternative. While temples in Korea have owned a considerable part of the national parks, a PES approach can be used as a viable option to alleviate the conflicts among visitors, non-visitors, and temples. The purpose of this paper is to assess the economic values of ecosystem services provided by temple forests as a compensation mechanism. Using a contingent valuation method, an online survey was conducted with 1000 respondents. Study results showed that the economic benefits of the conservation of temple forests were estimated to be substantial, ranging from ₩5980 (US $5.42) to ₩7709 ($7.08) per household per year. The results also confirmed the effects of social factors such as individuals’ trust in the government’s environmental policies and importance on the conservation of temples’ cultural and religious values on the willingness to pay. With a growing interest in securing ecosystem services through a PES approach, estimating economic benefits of the conservation of inholdings in public protected areas will be a valuable piece of information as an important policy decision-making tool
Mangrove ecosystems have an important role and provide ecosystem services that support the surrounding life, but their existence gets to experience pressure and degradation continuously. This study aims to analyze the ecosystem services carrying capacity of Angke Kapuk Mangrove (MAK) Jakarta Bay. The carrying capacity of the MAK ecosystem area was analyzed by examining the condition of ecosystem services and the carrying capacity of the protected function of the MAK and surrounding ecosystems. The condition of ecosystem services refers to the carrying capacity (D3TLH) map of the Muara Angke Kapuk mangrove ecosystem Area, Jakarta Bay, P3EJawa KLHK, while the carrying capacity of the protected function refers to the 2014 Ministry of Environment (KLH) D3TLH Guidelines and remote sensing and GIS techniques. MAK ecosystem areas are mostly in the low ecosystem services category. The results of the analysis show that the carrying capacity of the protected area of MAK ecosystem in Penjaringan District is 0.32, which means the carrying capacity of the protected function of the region is categorized damaged. These results provide an overview of the challenges and threats that occur in the MAK ecosystem area so that it requires attention and strategic efforts in maintaining the sustainability of ecosystem services.
“Flow” is a key concept in our era of liquid modernity, across a broad range of ecological, economic, and cultural discourses. In this essay, we examine the material flows integral to naturecultures through the specific case study of Seascale on the Cumbria coast in the UK. Through an analysis of cultural representations, we show the construction of Seascale as a seaside resort in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the rapid and irrevocable sinking of its cultural value since the commissioning of the nuclear power and reprocessing plant at Sellafield in 1947. By following the “flows” of pleasure, emotion, energy, and waste through Seascale, we explore the legacies of nuclear contamination for coastal communities, within a broader regime of the commodification of nature. This essay emerges from a transdisciplinary research project to investigate the cultural influences and impacts of ecosystem change in coastal environments around the Irish Sea. A collaboration between environmental humanities and ecological sciences, the project sought a materialist intervention in the conceptualization and practice of ecosystem assessment so as to capture and map a more inclusive and multidirectional sense of the flows that are integral to ecosystems, and to move beyond the limitations of dominant models of environmental stewardship. In contrast to the ways in which flow metaphors have been employed in contemporary economic and environmental discourse, the project attempts to analyze the material flows integral to naturecultures through particular places, perspectives, and agencies.
The present study highlights the importance of intertidal seagrass beds as nursery areas for coral reef fish juveniles along four sites (Mtsoubatsou, Sohoa, Boueni, Ngouja) on the western coast of Mayotte Island. The results collected by underwater visual census from November 2012 to January 2013 showed that mean total fish density between adults and juveniles varied significantly at each site, with juveniles always being more abundant in seagrass beds than adults. Of the total fish assemblages sampled in seagrass beds, 73% were juveniles and few adults of large species were observed. Overall, our study highlights the important functional role of intertidal seagrass beds for fish assemblages, as they are the primary habitat for the juveniles of many fish species on Mayotte reefs. Seagrass beds, however, are very vulnerable ecosystems and are decreasing worldwide. Therefore it is of primary importance to protect seagrass beds within the Indo-Pacific.
Despite general and wide-ranging negative effects of coral reef degradation on reef communities, hope might exist for reef-associated predators that use nursery habitats. When reef structural complexity is lost, refuge density declines and prey vulnerability increases. Here, we explore whether the presence of nursery habitats can promote high predator productivity on degraded reefs by mitigating the costs of increased vulnerability in early life, whilst allowing for the benefits of increased food availability in adulthood. We apply size-based ecosystem models of coral reefs with high and low structural complexity to predict fish biomass and productivity in the presence and absence of mangrove nurseries. Our scenarios allow us to elucidate the interacting effects of refuge availability and ontogenetic habitat shifts for fisheries productivity. We find that low complexity, degraded reefs with nurseries can support fisheries productivity that is equal to or greater than that in complex reefs that lack nurseries. We compare and validate model predictions with field data from Belize. Our results should inform reef fisheries management strategies and protected areas now and into the future.