Ecosystem Services and Uses

Seagrass ecosystems of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories: A global bright spot

McKenzie LJ, Yoshida RL, Aini JW, Andréfouët S, Colin PL, Cullen-Unsworth LC, Hughes AT, Payri CE, Rota M, Shaw C, et al. Seagrass ecosystems of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories: A global bright spot. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2021 ;167:112308. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X21003428?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Seagrass ecosystems exist throughout Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). Despite this area covering nearly 8% of the global ocean, information on seagrass distribution, biogeography, and status remains largely absent from the scientific literature. We confirm 16 seagrass species occur across 17 of the 22 PICTs with the highest number in Melanesia, followed by Micronesia and Polynesia respectively. The greatest diversity of seagrass occurs in Papua New Guinea (13 species), and attenuates eastward across the Pacific to two species in French Polynesia. We conservatively estimate seagrass extent to be 1446.2 km2, with the greatest extent (84%) in Melanesia. We find seagrass condition in 65% of PICTs increasing or displaying no discernible trend since records began. Marine conservation across the region overwhelmingly focuses on coral reefs, with seagrass ecosystems marginalised in conservation legislation and policy. Traditional knowledge is playing a greater role in managing local seagrass resources and these approaches are having greater success than contemporary conservation approaches. In a world where the future of seagrass ecosystems is looking progressively dire, the Pacific Islands appears as a global bright spot, where pressures remain relatively low and seagrass more resilient.

Seagrass ecosystem contributions to people's quality of life in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories

McKenzie LJ, Yoshida RL, Aini JW, Andréfouët S, Colin PL, Cullen-Unsworth LC, Hughes AT, Payri CE, Rota M, Shaw C, et al. Seagrass ecosystem contributions to people's quality of life in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2021 ;167:112307. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X21003416?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Seagrass ecosystems provide critical contributions (goods and perceived benefits or detriments) for the livelihoods and wellbeing of Pacific Islander peoples. Through in-depth examination of the contributions provided by seagrass ecosystems across the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), we find a greater quantity in the Near Oceania (New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands) and western Micronesian (Palau and Northern Marianas) regions; indicating a stronger coupling between human society and seagrass ecosystems. We also find many non-material contributions historically have been overlooked and under-appreciated by decision-makers. Closer cultural connections likely motivate guardianship of seagrass ecosystems by Pacific communities to mitigate local anthropogenic pressures. Regional comparisons also shed light on general and specific aspects of the importance of seagrass ecosystems to Pacific Islanders, which are critical for forming evidence-based policy and management to ensure the long-term resilience of seagrass ecosystems and the contributions they provide.

Perspectives on the Use of Coral Reef Restoration as a Strategy to Support and Improve Reef Ecosystem Services

Hein MY, Vardi T, Shaver EC, Pioch S, Boström-Einarsson L, Ahmed M, Grimsditch G, McLeod IM. Perspectives on the Use of Coral Reef Restoration as a Strategy to Support and Improve Reef Ecosystem Services. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2021 ;8. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2021.618303/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1599332_45_Marine_20210413_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In 2019, the United Nations Environment Assembly requested that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) define best practices for coral restoration. Guidelines led by the UNEP were prepared by a team of 20 experts in coral reef management, science, and policy to catalog the best-available knowledge in the field and provide realistic recommendations for the use of restoration as a reef management strategy. Here, we provide a synthesis of these guidelines. Specifically, we present (1) a case for the value of coral reef restoration in the face of increasing frequency and intensity of disturbances associated with climate change, (2) a set of recommendations for improving the use of coral reef restoration as a reef management strategy, tailored to goals and current methods. Coral reef restoration can be a useful tool to support resilience, especially at local scales where coral recruitment is limited, and disturbances can be mitigated. While there is limited evidence of long-term, ecologically relevant success of coral reef restoration efforts, ongoing investments in research and development are likely to improve the scale, and cost-efficiency of current methods. We conclude that coral reef restoration should not be seen as a “silver bullet” to address ecological decline and should be applied appropriately, with due diligence, and in concert with other broad reef resilience management strategies.

Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds

Fanning LM, Al-Naimi MNasser, Range P, Ali A-SM, Bouwmeester J, Al-Jamali F, Burt JA, Ben-Hamadou R. Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105566. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456912100051X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Given the current natural and anthropogenic threats facing Qatar's marine environment and the consequential expected decline in ecosystem services, this paper examines the potential application of the Ecosystem Services-EBM framework developed by Granek et al. (2010) to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reef and seagrass bed ecosystems. Using interviews with stakeholders and field-collected data from sixteen coral reef sites and 6 seagrass meadows as well as secondary data, the paper presents new knowledge regarding the status of these ecosystems and the benefits they provide that are most valued by stakeholders. The research identifies existing and missing ecological and socio-economic data, as well as the processes and management strategies required to implement the five-step framework within a Qatari context. Key goals for implementing EBM identified by stakeholders include: adoption of scientific planning and valuation of marine environment, contextualizing and drafting legislation, regulations and policies in support of EBM; monitoring and enforcement of laws; and, promotion of public awareness and engagement. The article concludes with recommendations for filling remaining data gaps and highlights opportunities available to Qatar to become a leader in implementing EBM. These include maximizing the increasing role that stakeholders can play in mitigating further decline of the country's coastal ecosystems and leveraging mega events planned in Qatar, such as FIFA World Cup 2022.

Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds

Fanning LM, Al-Naimi MNasser, Range P, Ali A-SM, Bouwmeester J, Al-Jamali F, Burt JA, Ben-Hamadou R. Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105566. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456912100051X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Given the current natural and anthropogenic threats facing Qatar's marine environment and the consequential expected decline in ecosystem services, this paper examines the potential application of the Ecosystem Services-EBM framework developed by Granek et al. (2010) to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reef and seagrass bed ecosystems. Using interviews with stakeholders and field-collected data from sixteen coral reef sites and 6 seagrass meadows as well as secondary data, the paper presents new knowledge regarding the status of these ecosystems and the benefits they provide that are most valued by stakeholders. The research identifies existing and missing ecological and socio-economic data, as well as the processes and management strategies required to implement the five-step framework within a Qatari context. Key goals for implementing EBM identified by stakeholders include: adoption of scientific planning and valuation of marine environment, contextualizing and drafting legislation, regulations and policies in support of EBM; monitoring and enforcement of laws; and, promotion of public awareness and engagement. The article concludes with recommendations for filling remaining data gaps and highlights opportunities available to Qatar to become a leader in implementing EBM. These include maximizing the increasing role that stakeholders can play in mitigating further decline of the country's coastal ecosystems and leveraging mega events planned in Qatar, such as FIFA World Cup 2022.

Towards an ecosystem service-based method to quantify the filtration services of mussels under chemical exposure

Wang J, K. Koopman R, Collas FPL, Posthuma L, de Nijs T, Leuven RSEW, A. Hendriks J. Towards an ecosystem service-based method to quantify the filtration services of mussels under chemical exposure. Science of The Total Environment [Internet]. 2021 ;763:144196. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720377275?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

As filter-feeders, freshwater mussels provide the ecosystem service (ES) of biofiltration. Chemical pollution may impinge on the provisioning of mussels' filtration services. However, few attempts have been made to estimate the impacts of chemical mixtures on mussels' filtration capacities in the field, nor to assess the economic benefits of mussel-provided filtration services for humans. The aim of the study was to derive and to apply a methodology for quantifying the economic benefits of mussel filtration services in relation to chemical mixture exposure. To this end, we first applied the bootstrapping approach to quantify the filtration capacity of dreissenid mussels when exposed to metal mixtures in the Rhine and Meuse Rivers in the Netherlands. Subsequently, we applied the value transfer method to quantify the economic benefits of mussel filtration services to surface water-dependent drinking water companies. The average mixture filtration inhibition (filtration rate reduction due to exposure to metal mixtures) to dreissenids was estimated to be <1% in the Rhine and Meuse Rivers based on the measured metal concentrations from 1999 to 2017. On average, dreissenids on groynes were estimated to filter the highest percentage of river discharge in the Nederrijn-Lek River (9.1%) and the lowest in the Waal River (0.1%). We estimated that dreissenid filtration services would save 110–12,000 euros/million m3 for drinking water production when abstracting raw water at the end of respective rivers. Economic benefits increased over time due to metal emission reduction. This study presents a novel methodology for quantifying the economic benefits of mussel filtration services associated with chemical pollution, which is understandable to policymakers. The derived approach could potentially serve as a blueprint for developing methods in examining the economic value of other filter-feeders exposed to other chemicals and environmental stressors. We explicitly discuss the uncertainties for further development and application of the method.

Integrating Cultural Ecosystem Services valuation into coastal wetlands restoration: A case study from South Australia

Clarke B, Thet AKo, Sandhu H, Dittmann S. Integrating Cultural Ecosystem Services valuation into coastal wetlands restoration: A case study from South Australia. Environmental Science & Policy [Internet]. 2021 ;116:220 - 229. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901120314027?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Elaborating the benefits humans receive from coastal wetlands using a Cultural Ecosystem Services assessment is an emergent and important field linking human wellbeing to ecosystem function. Translating these benefits into useable concepts for environmental policymakers, and managers is challenging yet important for supporting landscape restoration projects. This study responds to the call for Cultural Ecosystem Services case studies beyond the northern hemisphere. A household survey of residents adjacent to a peri-urban coastal wetland in South Australia and an online survey of interest groups were administered to identify co-benefits associated with a coastal restoration project in the region. A dynamic/relational cultural values framework guided the analysis. Findings reveal that visitation has a positive influence; people valued most the places with which they were familiar. The analysis confirms a mutual connection between: ‘doing’ (undertaking an activity), environmental awareness and appreciation, the formation of attachment to place, and having positive experiences. The analysis also points out that the naturalness of this coastline is highly valued. The findings here diverge from previous coastal landscape assessments based singularly on scenic value. The implication is that localised, place-based landscape assessments which include cultural values, offer a more deliberative approach to policy development and planning and will more likely incorporate what matters most to people.

Testing the ecosystem service cascade framework for Atlantic salmon

Worthington TA, Worthington I, Vaughan IP, Ormerod SJ, Durance I. Testing the ecosystem service cascade framework for Atlantic salmon. Ecosystem Services [Internet]. 2020 ;46:101196. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041620301388?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Aligning nature protection with human well-being for the UN Sustainable Development Goals implies that conservation monitoring should indicate the sustainability of ecosystem services (ES). Here we test the value of the ES cascade framework using national, multi-decadal data for an iconic freshwater fish, the Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. For the first time, we assemble all long-term monitoring data for England and Wales along the ES cascade for this species from resource to benefit: juvenile density to measure the biological resource, returning adult numbers to measure potential ES use, and rod catches and angling effort as measures of actual ES use. We aimed to understand how the ES cascade framework reconciled conservation with ES sustainability targets.

Only some linkages along the ES cascade could be evidenced: in catchments where juveniles declined, rod catches also generally decreased, but angling effort declined everywhere irrespective of the biological resource trends. We suggest that i) programmes focused on juvenile monitoring provide an early-warning system for ES provision as well as nature conservation, ii) the ES cascade framework can reconcile nature conservation and ES sustainability if monitoring efforts link biological resources fully to the ES, and ES monitoring explicitly relates biological resources to human use.

Identifying spatial patterns and interactions among multiple ecosystem services in an urban mangrove landscape

I JBerhane Al, Richards DRex, Gaw LYan-Feng, Masoudi M, Nathan Y, Friess DA. Identifying spatial patterns and interactions among multiple ecosystem services in an urban mangrove landscape. Ecological Indicators [Internet]. 2021 ;121:107042. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X2030981X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

As urbanisation pressures on ecosystems are set to increase, trade-offs between ecosystem service are also likely to increase. Management strategies that minimise trade-offs and promote sustainable development to optimise ecosystem multi-functionality are therefore needed. Many coastal cities may however struggle to find the resources and capacity to operationalise ecosystem service agendas. Therefore, the objective of this study is to propose and test the suitability of a multi-functional landscape approach to ecosystem service assessments using the case study of Singapore, with focus on five ecosystem services: water and air pollution control, global climate, local temperature and recreational potential services. Our results show clear heterogeneity in the capacity of mangroves to supply different ecosystem services, with a general tendency for greater amounts of supply in larger mangrove patches, and for ecosystem services to aggregate producing hotspots of supply. Overall, a 24% of the mangrove landscape supported aggregations of at least one, two or three ecosystem services, but only <1% of the mangrove landscape supporting overlapping aggregations of all five services. Ecosystem services also co-varied to produce trade-offs and synergies, with ecosystem service bundling largely driven by regulating services. Areas of ecosystem service synergy and hotsport overlap represent possible priority areas of future conservation or management, and highlight what might be lost if significant degradation were allowed to occur. Further, the large spatial mismatch among ecosystem service hotspots also highlights the difficulty in identifying single areas capable of delivering substantial amounts of multiple ecosystem services. We conclude that this framework provides a basis to look at ecosystem services in combination, as well as individually, and to do so in a spatially explicit manner than can be overlaid with maps of land use or other development planning.

Valuing ecosystem services of Sundarbans Mangrove forest: Approach of choice experiment

Iqbal MHafiz. Valuing ecosystem services of Sundarbans Mangrove forest: Approach of choice experiment. Global Ecology and Conservation [Internet]. 2020 ;24:e01273. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989420308143?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This study examines the marginal willingness-to-pay (MWTP) and compensating surplus (CS) in response to the policy change of ecosystem services of Sundarbans based on focus group discussion (FGD) and survey. The choice experiment approach (CE) was conducted in seven villages of Sundarbans of Bangladesh to elicit stated preference data and measure MWTP and CS. Each respondent faced three options in every choice card-two hypothetical alternatives and one status quo scheme. Four ecosystem services-payment for ecosystem services, fish, shrimp larvae, and crab capture from canals and creeks, leaves, grasses and twigs collection, and fruits and honey collection are used to design choice cards. The findings suggest that age, income, education, family composition, and occupational status are the influential factors to choice the relevant attributes of ecosystem services. Respondents would like to pay more Tk. 0.015 in option 1, Tk. 0.086 in option 2 and Tk. 0.329 in option 3 for ecosystem services. With these MWTP, they get more surplus-Tk. 0.551 in option 3. The subsequent surplus will be estimated Tk. 0.105 in option 2 and Tk. 0.078 in option 1. The lower MWTP does not necessarily imply low demand for ecosystem services, as the findings from MWTP illustrate potential demand for ecosystem services of Sundarbans.

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