The rate of change on coastlines is accelerating from climate change and coastal development. Coastal flooding is a particularly pressing and increasing problem, which affects hundreds of millions of people and damages trillions of US$ in property. Scientists, practitioners and managers must be able to quickly assess flood risk and identify appropriate adaptation and risk reduction measures often with limited data and tools, particularly in developing countries. To inform these decision-making processes, we identify how sensitive flood risk and adaptation analyses are to changes in the resolution of data and models. We further do these comparisons in the context of assess the benefits of an ecosystem-based approach for risk reduction. There is growing interest in these ecosystem-based approaches as cost effective measures for adaptation and risk reduction. We assess flood risks from tropical cyclones and the flood risk reduction benefits provided by mangroves in Pagbilao (the Philippines). Then, we also compare risks and risk reduction (benefits) using different quality data and models, to identify where to invest in in new modeling and data acquisition to improve decision-making. We find that coastal flood risk valuation improves by using high resolution topography and long time series of data on tropical cyclones, while flood reduction benefits of mangroves are better valued by using consistent databases and models along the whole process rather than investing in single measures.
Ecosystem Services and Uses
This paper applies the concept of cultural ecosystem services (CES) to reveal the diverse benefits the Baltic Sea provides to human well-being. The study identifies and defines relevant CES for marine and coastal environments and applies them in a survey with 4800 respondents from Germany, Finland and Latvia. The relative importance of various CES was determined by asking respondents to allocate 100 points between CES related to recreation, landscape, inspiration, learning and education, spiritual experiences and belonging, historically and culturally important places and the existence of habitats. The results reveal significant differences in the importance of various CES across countries, users and nonusers of the Baltic Sea, as well as respondents with different human–nature relationships. The results emphasize the importance of considering recreation, landscapes and habitats in conservation policies, while acknowledging that all CES are perceived as important by some population groups.
Management of protected areas is as much about understanding how society values these resources as it is about understanding ecological processes. Yet, in comparison to standard ecosystem monitoring and economic evaluation, social values are frequently overlooked because of the challenge to measure and define them. As marine protected areas are currently the fastest growing protected area type, this article argues the need to incorporate social value assessment in planning and policy decisions to improve ecological and social outcomes. This study surveyed 675 white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) cage-dive participants to investigate how tourists' value the Neptune Islands group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park. Applying a value typology previously used in forests, respondents were able to identify with 13 distinct values. Results demonstrate that tourists hold biocentric, indirect use, and nonconsumptive values of the marine park as most important. The relevance of these results as an indicator of tourists' preference for management decisions is discussed.
People benefit from the existence of forage fish through a wide range of uses, both direct and indirect. However, due to lack of data and gaps in existing research, the commercial importance of these species tends to get prioritized over the wider benefits they provide to society and the environment. This paper aims to identify all the multiple beneficiaries of forage fish and present their global value that encompasses different categories of benefits using both quantitative and qualitative methods. By adopting the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework, we estimated the global economic benefit provided by forage fish to be $18.7 billion per annum, over three times of their direct catch value. This is a partial estimate due to data limitation. We demonstrated the importance of forage fish to the livelihoods of coastal communities by providing direct employment to 5.6 million fishermen globally. The analysis also explored the important role forage fish plays by addressing the nutritional needs of indigenous and coastal communities, and their role in shaping the culture and customs - the significance of all of which cannot be captured by money values alone. We concluded that attempts to capture the economic values of forage fish are likely to be underestimates of the true value that forage fish hold for humans and other interlinked ecosystems. Understanding the true value of forage fish is important to avoid inadvertently making undesirable tradeoffs or management decisions that are environmentally and economically unsustainable.
Human impacts on the marine environment threaten the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people. Marine environments are a common-pool resource (CPR) and one of their major management challenges is how to incorporate the value of ecosystem services to society in decision-making. Cultural ecosystem services (CES) relate to the often intangible benefits people receive from their interactions with the natural environment and contribute to individual and collective human wellbeing. Priority knowledge gaps include the need to better understand shared values regarding CES, and how to effectively integrate these values into decision-making. We filmed 40 Community Voice Method interviews with marine stakeholders in two areas of the UK to improve on the valuation of coastal and marine CES. Results show that cultural benefits including sense of place, aesthetic pleasure and cultural identity were bi-directional, contributed directly to a ‘fulfilled human life’ and were associated with charismatic marine life and biodiversity. Other-regarding self-transcendence values were salient underscoring a desire for sustainable marine management. We critically reflect on our analytical framework that integrates aspects of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and IPBES conceptual frameworks. The thematic codebook developed for this study could prove useful for future comparative studies in other marine CES contexts. We propose that values-led management could increase the efficacy of marine planning strategies.
Despite extensive recent research elucidating the complex relationship between ecosystem services and human wellbeing, little work has sought to understand howecosystem services contribute to wellbeing and poverty alleviation. This paper adopts concepts from the “Theory of Human Need” and the “Capability Approach” to both identify the multitude of links occurring between ecosystem services and wellbeing domains, and to understand the mechanisms through which ecosystem services contribute to wellbeing. Focus Group Discussions (N = 40) were carried out at 8 sites in Mozambique and Kenya to elicit how, why, and to what extent benefits derived from ecosystem services contribute to different wellbeing domains. Our results highlight three types of mechanisms through which ecosystem services contribute to wellbeing, monetary, use and experience. The consideration of these mechanisms can inform the development of interventions that aim to protect or improve flows of benefits to people. Firstly, interventions that support multiple types of mechanisms will likely support multiple domains of wellbeing. Secondly, overemphasising certain types of mechanism over others could lead to negative social feedbacks, threatening the future flows of ecosystem services. Finally, the three mechanism types are interlinked and can act synergistically to enhance the capacities of individuals to convert ecosystem services to wellbeing.
Primary production hotspots in the marine environment occur where the combination of light, turbulence, temperature and nutrients makes the proliferation of phytoplankton possible. Satellite-derived surface chlorophyll-a distributions indicate that these conditions are frequently associated with sharp water mass transitions named “marine fronts”. Given the link between primary production, consumers and ecosystem functions, marine fronts could play a key role in the production of ecosystem services (ES). Using the shelf break front in the Argentine Sea as a study case, we show that the high primary production found in the front is the main ecological feature that supports the production of tangible (fisheries) and intangible (recreation, regulation of atmospheric gases) marine ES and the reason why the provision of ES in the Argentine Sea concentrates there. This information provides support to satellite chlorophyll as a good indicator of multiple marine ES. We suggest that marine fronts could be considered as marine ES hot spots.
A spatial-economic analysis, together with a social assessment, was used to understand the tradeoffs between different marine ecosystem services (recreation, harvestable fish, and fisheries-related cultural services) in marine protected areas (MPA), using the Brazilian MPA of Fernando de Noronha as a case study. In this MPA, tourism activities, including the profitable shark-diving activity, occur alongside small-scale fisheries that are operated by the local community in some areas, whereas in other areas tourism is the sole beneficiary of ecosystem services given that access by fishers and for fisheries is prohibited. The spatial-economic analyses suggest that tourism revenues are 10 times higher than those provided by fisheries, and would not be substantially affected were fisheries to be expanded to some parts of the MPA, even at the expense of shark-directed tourism. However, this purely economic analysis, which aims to determine how to compensate fishers for not accessing parts of the MPA, is incomplete as the study identified important cultural impacts associated with inability to easily access some parts of the MPA, resulting in the loss of place attachment, cultural heritage and identity. These losses are most felt by fishers who cannot easily switch to alternative economic activities. These findings highlight the need for an integrative approach to addressing marine ecosystem services that is capable of capturing potential types of losses brought about by competing uses of ecosystem services. Considering only the economic benefits of conflicting ecosystem services, while overlooking cultural values, may threaten the effectiveness of MPAs or of the ecosystem services themselves.
Marine space is overall under increasing pressure from human activities and in the way harming the marine ecosystems. Maritime spatial planning is one of the governance elements in the EU Integrated Maritime Policy (2007) that aims to maximise the sustainable use of the seas and oceans. Maritime spatial planning aims to ensure that the increased use of the marine space takes place in a way that are consistent with the sustainable development in the seas and oceans. According to the MSP Directive it is required to follow an ecosystem-based and thus holistic approach. For this to happen, tools are needed, and some tools are available but with various advantages and disadvantages. The aim of the current research has been to develop a comprehensive package of tools to assess the environmental impacts of societal activities under different maritime spatial planning proposals.
The ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA) considers ecosystem services (ES) important, but does not provide a conceptual framework or a typology to integrate and assess them. To supplement the EAA, a literature review of the ES conceptual framework and ES typologies was combined with selected criteria from the EAA and ES literature. Eight criteria of transition from a conventional approach to aquaculture to the EAA were used as selection criteria to choose a conceptual framework of ES relevant with the EAA. To select a typology, we determined that ES must be distinguished from benefits, be a part of nature, be usable directly and indirectly, and not contain support or habitat ES. The conceptual framework of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is the most compatible with the EAA but does not provide an ES typology. The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) provides the ES typology most consistent with EAA criteria to supplement the conceptual framework. We identified 10 provisioning ES, 20 regulation and maintenance ES, and 11 cultural ES. Integration of the IPBES conceptual framework with the CICES typology preserves the generic approach of the EAA. This integration could highlight the main interactions among an aquaecosystem, its ES supply, its management, and its relevant stakeholders at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Moreover, it fulfils the three main goals of the EAA by identifying them in a clear and common framework.