Mangroves in the Galapagos: Ecosystem services and their valuation

TitleMangroves in the Galapagos: Ecosystem services and their valuation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsTanner M.K, Moity N., Costa M.T, Jarrin J.RM, Aburto-Oropeza O, Salinas-de-Leon P.
Date Published2019/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0921-8009
Accession NumberWOS:000466260300002
Keywordsblue carbon; Business & Economics; carbon; Coastal and marine; coral-reef fish; Economic valuation; ecosystems; emissions; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; forests; island; management; marine; payments; Payments for ecosystem services; Recreation and tourism; sequestration; small-scale fisheries; storage

Mangroves provide many benefits to human welfare, but they are disappearing rapidly; Ecuador and countries within the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) region have lost over 40% of their mangrove coverage in the last 40 years. One reason for this destruction is that the benefits of mangroves have not been valued in a way that policymakers and markets can understand. Here, we present the first economic valuation of multiple ecosystem services (ES) for Ecuador and the TEP using the Galapagos mangroves as a case study. We focused on three ES of high value and policy relevance: carbon storage, support for small-scale fisheries, and mangrove-based tourism. Our data suggest that over 778,000 tons of carbon are stored in Galapagos mangroves, with mean belowground carbon being 211.03 +/- 179.65 Mg C/ha, valued at $2940/ha or $22,838/ha depending on the valuation methodology. We identified mangrove-dependent fish targeted by the local finfish fishery, with net benefits of $245 ha(-1), making this fishery the second most profitable in the Archipelago. The value of mangrove-based recreation was estimated at $16,958/ha, contributing $62 million to the industry. By accounting for stakeholders and existing property rights, our results allow for the discussion of institutionalizing ES payments for the Galapagos Islands.

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