The Ecosystem Service Concept and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services as a framework and tool for developing integrated approaches to mangrove management and conservation.

UoM administered thesis: Master of Philosophy

  • Authors:
  • Alexandria Gabb

Abstract

Lessons from past conservation efforts have highlighted the necessity for movements away from traditional, top down efforts following the preservationist approach and towards more integrated, approaches characterised by typically characterised by public participation and multi-sector collaboration. The Ecosystem Service Concept (ESC) has become a popular framework upon which to facilitate said collaboration, uniting stakeholders through concepts of societal dependence on ecosystems as a rational for their sustainable management and conservation. Ecosystem service (ES) valuation is an associated tool developed to bridge communication gaps across stakeholder types by providing a common language with which to manage ES values. At present, valuation attempts have primarily focused on the use of monetary units in the monetary valuation of ecosystem services (MVES). This method aids in translating the values of ES into a language more readily adopted in land-use decisions thus facilitating communication between practitioners and decision- makers. The issue here however is that despite facilitating discourse at said level, MVES excludes local stakeholders by foregoing public participation and ultimately neglecting the social values and the non-material benefits of ES. As a result, MVES has received criticisms concerning its relative one-dimensionality, leading to calls for value plurism and greater consideration of social values needed for integrated management schemes. Mangroves have become widely recognized as highly productive ecosystems delivering a variety of services vital in supporting coastal communities, national economies and adjacent ecosystems. The diversity of their services, in addition to the range to which their benefits extend make mangroves an interesting system within which to explore the discourse surrounding ESC and valuation and examine the potential and limitations of the tool in developing integrated approaches to mangrove management. This study reviews use of MVES in mangrove ecosystems, identifying gaps in the literature with regards to the cultural services of mangroves, representation of their ecological values and a research deficit concerning mangroves of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. To address some of these gaps this thesis also employed social valuation techniques in coastal communities on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. The social valuation study demonstrated variation in stakeholder perceptions as to the importance of mangrove services amongst communities and that these were affected by community geographies, ultimately highlighting the importance of social considerations to avoid conflict when implementing management schemes.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date1 Aug 2019