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Linking People to Coastal Habitats: A meta-analysis of final ecosystem goods and services on the coast
Littles, C., C. Jackson, Ted DeWitt, AND M. Harwell. Linking People to Coastal Habitats: A meta-analysis of final ecosystem goods and services on the coast. Ocean & Coastal Management. Elsevier, Shannon, Ireland, 165:356-369, (2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2018.09.009
EPA and university scientists conducted a meta-analysis of literature demonstrating the relationship between coastal habitats and final ecosystem goods and services (FEGS). Results from this analysis, documenting how various human beneficiaries rely on coastal habitats, support communities in land-use planning and prioritization efforts. The baseline information presented, based on studies of ecosystem services around the world, highlights the intricate relationship between healthy coastal environments and the socio-economic systems they support. The authors hope communities and other stakeholders will couple results from this study with other tools, such as EPA’s EnviroAtlas, to recognize and protect existing FEGS, and plan for future ecosystem service delivery.
Coastal ecosystem goods and services (EGS) have steadily gained traction in the scientific literature over the last few decades, providing a wealth of information about underlying coastal habitat dependencies. This meta-analysis summarizes relationships between coastal habitats and final ecosystem goods and services (FEGS) users. Through a “weight of evidence” approach synthesizing information from published literature, we assessed habitat classes most relevant to coastal users. Approximately 2800 coastal EGS journal articles were identified by online search engines, of which 16% addressed linkages between specific coastal habitats and FEGS users, and were retained for subsequent analysis. Recreational (83%) and industrial (35%) users were most cited in literature, with experiential-users/hikers and commercial fishermen most prominent in each category, respectively. Recreational users were linked to the widest diversity of coastal habitat subclasses (i.e., 22 of 26). Whereas, mangroves and emergent wetlands were most relevant for property owners. We urge EGS studies to continue surveying local users and identifying habitat dependencies, as these steps are important precursors for developing appropriate coastal FEGS metrics and facilitating local valuation. In addition, understanding how habitats contribute to human well-being may assist communities in prioritizing restoration and evaluating development scenarios in the context of future ecosystem service delivery.