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Mangroves in the Galapagos: Ecosystem services and their valuation


  • Tanner, Michael K.
  • Moity, Nicolas
  • Costa, Matthew T.
  • Marin Jarrin, Jose R.
  • Aburto-Oropeza, Octavio
  • Salinas-de-León, Pelayo


Mangroves provide many benefits to human welfare, but they are disappearing rapidly; Ecuador and countries within the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) region have lost over 40% of their mangrove coverage in the last 40 years. One reason for this destruction is that the benefits of mangroves have not been valued in a way that policymakers and markets can understand. Here, we present the first economic valuation of multiple ecosystem services (ES) for Ecuador and the TEP using the Galapagos mangroves as a case study. We focused on three ES of high value and policy relevance: carbon storage, support for small-scale fisheries, and mangrove-based tourism. Our data suggest that over 778,000 tons of carbon are stored in Galapagos mangroves, with mean belowground carbon being 211.03 ± 179.65 Mg C/ha, valued at $2940/ha or $22,838/ha depending on the valuation methodology. We identified mangrove-dependent fish targeted by the local finfish fishery, with net benefits of $245 ha−1, making this fishery the second most profitable in the Archipelago. The value of mangrove-based recreation was estimated at $16,958/ha, contributing $62 million to the industry. By accounting for stakeholders and existing property rights, our results allow for the discussion of institutionalizing ES payments for the Galapagos Islands.

Suggested Citation

  • Tanner, Michael K. & Moity, Nicolas & Costa, Matthew T. & Marin Jarrin, Jose R. & Aburto-Oropeza, Octavio & Salinas-de-León, Pelayo, 2019. "Mangroves in the Galapagos: Ecosystem services and their valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 12-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:160:y:2019:i:c:p:12-24
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.01.024

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    References listed on IDEAS

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