Valuing Ecosystem Services for Coastal Wetland Protection and Restoration: Progress and Challenges
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2013, 00:00 by Edward B. Barbier
Coastal wetlands, such as marshes, mangroves and forested swamps, are in decline globally. Although considerable progress has been made in quantifying and valuing some of the key ecosystem goods and services provided by these habitats, fundamental challenges remain. The biggest challenge is inadequate knowledge to link changes in ecosystem structure and function to the production of valuable goods and services. Another problem is that very few ecosystem services are marketed. This review discusses recent advances in overcoming these challenges. To illustrate key valuation issues, the paper introduces three case studies from the US Gulf Coast state of Louisiana: quantifying ecosystem services and the 2012 Master Plan for coastal Louisiana; valuing storm protection by marsh in southeast Louisiana; and oil spills and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment approach to wetland compensation in lieu of restoration. The paper concludes with some final remarks on the state of coastal wetland valuation for protection and restoration.