The Ecosystem services approach offers a pragmatic, rational approach to biodiversity management and an opportunity to sustainably manage natural capital for human benefits. The societal demand for regulating services to cope with growing risks of lowered ecosystem functioning is growing, especially in coastal zones and estuaries which are/will be subjected to effects of climate change. Such a rational approach is therefore needed.
This report presents an overview of demand and supply of ES in four estuaries. It allows for their comparison and linkage to their specific functional characteristics. Trade-offs and synergies, historical value estimates, and ES impacts of estuarine measures are provided.
These results can be used in different fields of estuarine management.
- Improvement of knowledge on ES in general, addressing of knowledge gaps and further pooling of expertise.
- For the implementation of measures: which habitats should be maintained/ restored in order to stimulate certain ES, or how to obtain the maximum supply of the entire bundle of ES.
- For decision making processes: which ES are important or less important for the vision on a certain estuary or for the respective society/residents.
- For estuarine governance: synergies and conflicting aims (with other processes) can be deduced.
There are however important challenges in ecological research, valuation as well as governance to obtain an ecosystem based planning and management. However, the current knowledge and this ES assessment provides ample reasons to avoid negative effects from single-benefit directed estuarine measures.
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