Science Inventory

Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

Citation:

PRINCIPE, P. P., P. BRADLEY, S. H. YEE, W. S. FISHER, E. D. Johnson, P. ALLEN, AND D. E. CAMPBELL. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-11/206, 2012.

Impact/Purpose:

Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses (MEA 2005). In response, governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and academia initiated numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline. This work has led to the widely-held belief that the recovery of coral reefs is unlikely if public and private sector decisions that affect coral reefs continue to ignore the economic value of the goods and services provided by these ecosystems (MEA 2005). If this perception is correct, successful conservation will, in most instances, require that environmental benefits (or, ecosystem services) are routinely included in economic and social decisions (Pearce & Turner 1990; Pearce & Moran 1994; Daily et al. 1997; Turner et al. 2003; Chee 2004; Boyd & Banzhaf 2007; Turner 2010). However, this approach presupposes knowledge of what the ecosystem services are, what their magnitudes and values are, what ecosystem characteristics provide them, how those characteristics are affected by human activities, and how human activities may affect the future provision of ecosystem services. With this knowledge, decisionmakers could have access to a more complete characterization of the consequences of different policy options.

Description:

Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recovery of coral reefs is unlikely if public and private sector decisions that affect coral reefs continue to ignore the economic value of the goods and services (ecosystem services) they provide. However, including ecosystem services in a decision process requires that they be characterized and quantified (and subsequently valued). In particular, the scientific contribution to the decision process should include identifying which coral reef attributes are associated with which ecosystem services, how those attributes are affected by human activities, and how human activities may affect the future provision of ecosystem services. This knowledge would place the decision process on a sounder scientific footing and provide a more complete characterization of the consequences of different policy options. This report provides a review of previous studies of ecosystem services and economic benefits provided by coral reefs, the methods used to quantify those ecosystem services, and how those ecosystem services are linked to attributes of the reef.

URLs/Downloads:

PRINCIPE 11-097 REVISED FINAL REPORT QUANTIFYING CORAL REEF.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 6785 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PUBLISHED REPORT/REPORT)
Product Published Date: 01/17/2012
Record Last Revised: 02/01/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 239984

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION

LANDSCAPE CHARACTERIZATION BRANCH (RTP)