As ranked by the Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (MESP) and their community of practice*
* The MESP asked a small sample of high-level experts for recommendations and then asked their community of practice to vote on which papers they thought should be included.
Reviews the main ecological services provided by coral reefs, seagrass beds, salt marshes, mangroves, and sand beaches/dunes. Also, describes a few of the issues inherent to valuing ecological services and the need to include ecosystem costs in policy decisions.
A more technical paper, Sanchirico and Mumby note that the way species use their habitat will affect that habitat’s value. Using fishery habitat and mangroves as their example, the authors show how the relationship between species and their habitat can have implications for coastal development policies.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) was initiated by the United Nations in order to assess the impact of ecosystem change on human well-being. The report as a whole involved over 1,360 experts worldwide. The chapter on coastal systems provides an excellent introduction to coastal ecosystem services and their value.
This paper points out that the optimal land use option is often an integration of development and conservation goals rather than an “all or none” policy.
Barbier and Strand demonstrate how to use a model to account for the effect a change in mangrove habitat area can have on shrimp production. Ultimately, mangrove loss had an effect on shrimp production (and thus fishery values) in the Campeche fishery.
Hughes et al emphasize the importance of adaptive governance as we learn more about the complex linkages between people and their environment.
Pendleton posits a new way of looking at valuation – suggesting marine parks measure savings from avoided losses rather than simply the resource protected. The economic benefit of a marine park is thus the value of avoided reef degradation.
Outlines the issues and differences in methodology for valuing a particular natural asset and developing estimates for natural capital (i.e. natural resource stocks for National Accounting).
Identifies a wide variety of important coastal ecosystem services in Sweden and demonstrates changes in the provision of ecosystem services due to ecosystem shifts. Uses the MA’s typology of provisioning, regulating, and cultural services in its case studies.
The deep sea is a relatively new area of study and researchers are finding it too has value to humans. This paper outlines deep-sea ecosystem goods and services as well as knowledge gaps to be filled.
An excellent introduction to the valuation of coral reefs – Spurgeon outlines reasons to value reefs, problems inherent to valuation, and the methodologies of the day.
Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are a new approach to conservation. This paper synthesizes case studies in the literature to compare PES experiences and find the lessons learned.