Raet National Park Marine Ecosystem Service assessment
Raet National Park has been declared on 16th December 2016. The establishment of the park has been supported by a number of assessments on the area’s natural values, threats towards it, and human activities taking place in the park, among many other aspects. What has yet to be studied, however, is the multitude of benefits that people derive from the functioning of the park’s natural ecosystems. These benefits range from very tangible, every day uses such as commercial fishing, to less concrete ones like cultural identity, and to fundamental services such as water filtration. The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment defines Ecosystem Services as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems”, a concept that has gained broad scientific and political recognition, as reflected in the growing body of scientific literature as well as the establishment of, for example, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Today, Ecosystem Services are assessed and valued for purposes of conservation, for spatial planning of resource use, for creating markets that incentivise their continued provision, and for strategic investment into ‘green infrastructure’. Their value can be expressed in qualitative ways such as narrative descriptions, or quantitative data and information, and those values can be, for example, cultural, economic or intrinsic. Which values are assigned and described is specific to purpose, audience and context of an ecosystem services assessment and valuation.
Objectives for a Raet National Park Marine Ecosystem Service Assessment
• To provide information of the various ecosystem services to their beneficiaries, to the public and to decision-makers
• To provide a first contribution to enable decision making informed by the best possible understanding of the park’s benefits to its users
• To indicate uses of the park that allow for the continued provision of ecosystem services
Scope and Content
The assessment will focus on the marine and coastal environment, and particularly on ‘blue forest ecosystems’ (kelp, seagrass and associated ecosystems). It will provide an overview on the ecosystem services provided, and who benefits from them how. It will further describe available information, including, where possible, quantitative and economic information. Lastly, it will look into the complementarity of current and potential future uses of ecosystem services and provide recommendations.
Photos from the project, click to view large:
Identification of priority ecosystem services
Collection of available biophysical foundations for priority ecosystem services, including status and trends, and of available socio-economic information
Identification of ecosystem services “hot-spots”
For more information
Christian Neumann, GRID-Arendal