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Linking Ecosystem Services Supply to Stakeholder Values in Guanica Bay Watershed, Puerto Rico
Smith, A., S. Yee, M. Russell, J. Awkerman, AND W. Fisher. Linking Ecosystem Services Supply to Stakeholder Values in Guanica Bay Watershed, Puerto Rico. A Community on Ecosystem Services, Washington, DC, December 08 - 12, 2014.
We identify metrics of ecosystem services supply linked to stakeholder objectives in the Guanica Bay watershed, Puerto Rico, and apply ecosystem services production function to quantify and map their baseline values.
Policies to protect coastal resources will be more effective when they account for the social and economic concerns of stakeholders in the coastal zone and watershed, and are responsive to potential tradeoffs between benefits offered by both land and sea. We focus on the Guánica Bay watershed in Southwestern Puerto Rico, where deforestation and drainage of a large lagoon have led to sediment, contaminant, and nutrient transport into the bay, resulting in declining quality in coral reefs. A watershed management plan is currently being implemented, however recent workshops with stakeholders indicated there is still a great deal of uncertainty on the degree to which proposed actions could benefit the local community beyond protecting coral reefs, including unintended benefits or negative consequences for agricultural and tourism economies, drinking water supply, human health, and the ecological integrity of non-reef ecosystems. A first step is to calculate baseline measures for valued services in order to better understand the potential risk of decisions. Ecosystem services indicators were identified that reflected stakeholder objectives in the watershed (terrestrial) and coastal zone (marine). Production functions were applied to quantify and map ecosystem services, and spatial analysis allowed comparison between services provided in the upper and lower Guánica Bay watershed and across 23 other watersheds (HUC 10) in Puerto Rico. The upper Guánica watershed is dominated by forest and the lower portion dominated by agriculture. Coral reefs and mangroves are found in shallow nearshore waters which support fisheries and recreation. Compared to other watersheds in Puerto Rico the upper Guánica watershed had high air pollutant removal rates, forest habitat area, and biodiversity of charismatic and endangered species, but low farmland area, and sediment and nutrient retention. On the other hand, the lower Guánica watershed had high rates of denitrification, sediment and rainwater retention compared to other watersheds, but low air pollutant removal, carbon sequestration, nutrient retention, and biodiversity. Characterizing the relative provision of different ecosystem services can inform and clarify decision options that occur in different areas of the watershed or different regions of Puerto Rico.