Mapping Ecosystem Functions to the Valuation of Ecosystem Services: Implications of Species-Habitat Associations for Coastal Land-Use Decisions

Theoretical Ecology, 2009

15 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2009  

James N. Sanchirico

University of California, Davis - Environmental Science and Policy; Resources for the Future; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust

Peter J. Mumby

University of Exeter

Date Written: February 26, 2009

Abstract

Habitats and the ecosystem services they provide are part of the world's portfolio of natural capital assets. Like many components of this portfolio, it is difficult to assess the full economic value of these services, which tends to over-emphasize the value of extractive activities such as coastal development. Building on recent ecological studies of species-habitat linkages, we use a bioeconomic model to value multiple types of habitats as natural capital, using mangroves, sea grass, and coral reefs as our model system. We show how key ecological variables and processes, including obligate and facultative behaviors map into habitat values and how the valuation of these ecological processes can inform decisions regarding coastal development (habitat clearing). Our stylized modeling framework also provides a clear and concise road map for researchers interested in understanding how to make the link between ecosystem function, ecosystem service, and conservation policy decisions. Our findings also highlight the importance of additional ecological research into how species utilize habitats and that this research is not just important for ecological science but it can and will influence ecosystem service values that in turn will impact coastal land-use decisions. While refining valuation methods is not necessarily going to lead to more rational coastal land-use decisions, it will improve our understanding on the ecological-economic mechanisms that contribute to the value of our natural capital assets.

Keywords: Bioeconomic, Ecosystem services

JEL Classification: Q2, Q22

Suggested Citation

Sanchirico, James N. and Mumby, Peter J., Mapping Ecosystem Functions to the Valuation of Ecosystem Services: Implications of Species-Habitat Associations for Coastal Land-Use Decisions (February 26, 2009). Theoretical Ecology, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1349958

James N. Sanchirico (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Environmental Science and Policy ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
(530) 754-9883 (Phone)
(530) 752-3350 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.des.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Sanchirico.html

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust ( email )

Level 1, 93 Cuba Street
P.O. Box 24390
Wellington, 6142
New Zealand

Peter J. Mumby

University of Exeter ( email )

Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/msel/personnel/pjm.html

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