GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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An estimate of the economic value of coastal and marine ecosystem services and its management implications
Paper Proposal Text :
Ecosystem services are the natural by-products of healthy, well-functioning environments – they include provisioning for food and water resources, as well as regulating and supporting functions such as flood control, waste management, water balance, climate regulation, and other processes. The oceans and coasts provide many of these critical yet undervalued services, supporting not only coastal inhabitants but all life on the planet. With such significant human reliance on these services, it is essential to recognise their value before they are lost.

While it is clear that stakeholders are willing to pay for non-use environmental benefits, these benefits are likely to be implicitly treated as zero unless their dollar value is somehow estimated. The contingent valuation method involves directly asking people, via a survey, how much they would be willing to pay for specific environmental services – one of the only ways to monetise non-use values of the environment. The Ecosystem Services Assessment for Abu Dhabi is a strategic initiative that measured the value of these services, which will help influence the behavior of regional leaders. Through education about the environment in coastal marine habitats, and with the understanding that financial compensation may one day be required, these leaders will be able to make informed decisions when it comes to complex land-use, that will ultimately lessen negative environmental impact.

In this analysis, the interest is in the amenity values people derive from the coastal and marine resources within the Abu Dhabi Emirate, and specifically for Abu Dhabi City. This has become an important consideration given the rapid rate of economic development, and the fact that the city is being marketed as a destination of choice for the global traveller and business person using amenity values, such as beach and ocean views, recreation and sport opportunities and facilities, as attractions. The consequences of urban growth, however, are an increase in waste, energy and water use. Furthermore,there is active reclamation of the ocean leading to an increase in the canalisation of the coastal area, reducing water flow, and as a result the city has seen an increase in eutrophication and the number of red algae blooms.