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Habitat Scale Mapping of Fisheries Ecosystem Service Values in Estuaries

Timothy G. O’Higgins, Scottish Association for Marine Sciences
Steven P. Ferraro, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Darrin D. Dantin, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Steve J. Jordan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Marnita M Chintala, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


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Little is known about the variability of ecosystem service values at spatial scales most relevant to local decision makers. Competing definitions of ecosystem services, the paucity of ecological and economic information, and the lack of standardization in methodology are major obstacles to applying the ecosystem-services approach at the estuary scale. We present a standardized method that combines habitat maps and habitat–faunal associations to estimate ecosystem service values for recreational and commercial fisheries in estuaries. Three case studies in estuaries on the U.S. west coast (Yaquina Bay, Oregon), east coast (Lagoon Pond, Massachusetts), and the Gulf of Mexico (Weeks Bay, Alabama) are presented to illustrate our method’s rigor and limitations using available data. The resulting spatially explicit maps of fisheries ecosystem service values show within and between estuary variations in the value of estuarine habitat types that can be used to make better informed resource-management decisions.

Key words

ecosystem services; estuary; habitat; mapping; valuation

Copyright © 2010 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087