Measuring ecosystem services and assessing impacts

Jewel anemones on Wellington’s south coast. Photo: Serena Cox, NIWA

We are linking the social and cultural values that people associate with coastal and marine areas to specific ecosystem services (for example, removing pollutants) that underpin and support these values.

Project leader: Andrew Lohrer, NIWA

Measuring ecosystem services and how they’re affected

The species and habitats in our marine ecosystems provide many ‘ecosystem services’, such as providing food and cleansing waters of particles and pollutants.

This project is clarifying the links between nature and human values. In particular, linking the social and cultural values that people associate with coastal and marine areas near Tauranga and Nelson to specific ecosystem services that underpin and support these values.

We are also developing ways to measure and map particular marine ecosystem services that are directly linked to the values held by Māori and stakeholders. These ecosystem services are:

  • Removing pollutants (eg nutrient runoff)
  • Enhancing biodiversity by providing habitats for fish and invertebrates
  • Bundles of ecosystem services generated by native shellfish species, such as mitigating ocean acidification and stabilising sediment

Each of these ecosystem services is likely to have different value and meaning for different audiences in different locations (eg councils, Department of Conservation, iwi, hapū). These relationships will be explored in more depth as the project progresses.

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