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Progress and Challenges in Valuing Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Services


  • Edward B. Barbier


Coastal and marine ecosystems (CMEs) generate some of the most important services to humankind, but they are endangered from overexploitation and loss. The widespread decline in CME services suggests that it is important to understand what is at stake in terms of the critical benefits and values of these services. This article examines how environmental and resource economics has contributed to our knowledge of CME services and discusses progress as well as challenges in valuing these services. The article highlights case studies in which the economic valuation of key CME services has influenced policy decisions concerning the management of CMEs. Two key features of CME benefits are also examined. First, the natural spatial variability in these systems can influence the economic value of CME services. Second, because they occur at the interface between watersheds, the coast, and open water, CMEs can produce cumulative and synergistic benefits across the entire seascape that are much more significant and unique than the services provided by any single ecosystem. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward B. Barbier, 2012. "Progress and Challenges in Valuing Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Services," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(1), pages 1-19.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:6:y:2012:i:1:p:1-19

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    2. Bull, J.W. & Jobstvogt, N. & Böhnke-Henrichs, A. & Mascarenhas, A. & Sitas, N. & Baulcomb, C. & Lambini, C.K. & Rawlins, M. & Baral, H. & Zähringer, J. & Carter-Silk, E. & Balzan, M.V. & Kenter, J.O, 2016. "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats: A SWOT analysis of the ecosystem services framework," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 99-111.
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    5. Giannetti, Biagio F. & Faria, Luciana & Almeida, Cecília M.V.B. & Agostinho, Feni & Coscieme, Luca & Liu, Gengyuan, 2018. "Human-nature nexuses in Brazil: Monitoring production of economic and ecosystem services in historical series," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 30(PB), pages 248-256.
    6. Sergey Rabotyagov & Catherine L. Kling & Philip W. Gassman & Nancy N. Rabalais & R. Eugene Turner, 2012. "Economics of Dead Zones: Linking Externalities from the Land to their Consequences in the Sea, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 12-wp534, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
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    10. Marre, Jean-Baptiste & Thebaud, Olivier & Pascoe, Sean & Jennings, Sarah & Boncoeur, Jean & Coglan, Louisa, 2015. "The use of ecosystem services valuation in Australian coastal zone management," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 117-124.
    11. Coscieme, Luca & Pulselli, Federico M. & Marchettini, Nadia & Sutton, Paul C. & Anderson, Sharolyn & Sweeney, Sharlynn, 2014. "Emergy and ecosystem services: A national biogeographical assessment," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 152-159.
    12. Buckwell, Andrew & Fleming, Christopher & Smart, James & Mackey, Brendan & Ware, Daniel & Hallgren, Willow & Sahin, Oz & Nalau, Johanna, 2018. "Valuing aggregated ecosystem services at a national and regional scale for Vanuatu using a remotely operable, rapid assessment methodology," 2018 Conference (62nd), February 7-9, 2018, Adelaide, Australia 273524, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    13. Catherine L. Kling & Yiannis Panagopoulos & Adriana Valcu-Lisman & Philip W. Gassman & Sergey Rabotyagov & Todd Campbell & Mike White & Jeffrey G. Arnold & Raghavan Srinivasan & Manoj Jha & Jeff Richa, 2014. "Land Use Model Integrating Agriculture and the Environment (LUMINATE): Linkages between Agricultural Land Use, Local Water Quality and Hypoxic Concerns in the Gulf of Mexico Basin," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 14-wp546, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    14. Pranab Mukhopadhyay & Vanessa da Costa, 2015. "Recreational Value of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in India: A Partial Estimate," Working Papers 2015-124, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    15. Wood, Sylvia L.R. & Jones, Sarah K. & Johnson, Justin A. & Brauman, Kate A. & Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca & Fremier, Alexander & Girvetz, Evan & Gordon, Line J. & Kappel, Carrie V. & Mandle, Lisa & Mullig, 2018. "Distilling the role of ecosystem services in the Sustainable Development Goals," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 29(PA), pages 70-82.
    16. Adam P. Hejnowicz & Murray A. Rudd, 2017. "The Value Landscape in Ecosystem Services: Value, Value Wherefore Art Thou Value?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(5), pages 1-34, May.
    17. Deininger, Michaela & Koellner, Thomas & Brey, Thomas & Teschke, Katharina, 2016. "Towards mapping and assessing antarctic marine ecosystem services – The weddell sea case study," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 22(PA), pages 174-192.

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