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Economic valuation of marine ecosystem services

Fish yearlingPhoto: Göran Sundblad

The marine environment provides many ecosystem services from which humans derive wellbeing. This includes for example fish for food, possibilities for recreation and the regulation of human-induced disturbances such as eutrophication. Information on the economic benefits associated with these services is invaluable for a sustainable use of the Baltic Sea.

Coastal management and planning need monetary estimates of the marine goods and services to be set against the profits from human exploitation. Monetary estimates can describe the economic value of a change in ecosystem services caused by policy or development activitivities. This change could be the result from altered human pressures, for example fishing or eutrophication. When the associated costs – and benefits – following new policy instruments can be analysed in this way, it´s easier to decide whether the policy is worth implementation, or, in case of many alternative management options, which option will result in the greatest net benefits.

Some ecosystem services have a market price and their economic value is relatively easy to determine. But many others have not. For these, environmental valuation methods based on the analysis of the preferences of the general public play an important role for estimating the monetary value.

Use the menu on the left for more information on marine ecosystem services and methods for economic valuation of the environment, and the valuation survey conducted by the PREHAB project.

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