Evidence of economic benefits for public investment in MPAs

Pascal, N. et al., 2018. Ecosystem Services

Original research
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MPAs enhance some of the Ecosystem Services (ES) provided by coral reefs and clear, robust valuations of these impacts may help to improve stakeholder support and better inform decision-makers. Pursuant to this goal, Cost-Benefit Analyses (CBA) of MPAs in 2 different contexts were analysed: a community based MPA with low tourism pressure in Vanuatu, and a government managed MPA with relatively high tourism pressure, in Saint Martin. Assessments were made on six ES: fish biomass, scenic beauty, protection against coastal erosion, bequest and existence values, social capital and CO2 sequestration, which were quantified via different approaches that included experimental fishery, surveys and benefit transfer. Total operating costs for each MPA were collected and the benefit-cost ratio and return on investment based on 25-year discounted projections computed. Sensitivity analyses were conducted on MPA impacts, and discount rates (5%, 7% and 10%). The investment indicators all showed positive results with the impact on the tourism ES being the largest estimated for all MPAs, highlighting the importance of this relationship. The study also demonstrated a relatively high sensitivity of the results to different levels of impacts on ES, which highlights the need for reducing scientific knowledge gaps.

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