Habitat Benefit Assessment and Decisionmaking: A Report to the National Marine Fisheries Service
Habitats and the services they provide are part of our nation’s portfolio of natural capital assets. As for many components of this portfolio, it is difficult to assess the value of their services, and this complicates regulators’ investment decisions, especially when the alternative use is measurable. The principal objective of this report is to suggest possible strategies for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as it applies economic analyses and arguments in support of the agency’s trustee responsibilities. Many approaches are possible, and as we discuss, the “right” strategy will depend on the questions asked, the resources available, and the agency’s role in the consultation process. We discuss in detail bioeconomic modeling and ecosystem indicator approaches to habitat value assessment. Although the approaches are discussed independently, multiple tools could be used simultaneously across different regions or within the same region on different aspects of one consultation.
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