Measuring ecosystem services and assessing impacts

Small animals that burrow in seafloor sediments

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: Drew 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.

You can read more about  the kinds of services that ecosystems provide on NIWA's website. 

Latest news and updates

Award recognises contribution to marine science

University of Waikato scientist Professor Conrad Pilditch is the 2018 winner of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Award. The Award recognises his continued and outstanding contribution to marine science in New Zealand.

Sustainable Seas features on Ocean Bounty S2 EP7

Sir Rob Fenwick,  our Chairman was interviewed about Sustainable Seas on S2 EP7 of Ocean Bounty. You can watch it here on TV 3 on demand.  (6.57 to 11.20).  

Consultation opens re 2019–2024 strategy

Improving marine management is critical to New Zealand's future health and wealth, but research in isolation is not enough. Excellent engagement with, and participation from, all users and sectors of society is essential.

We therefore invite comment on our draft strategy for Phase II (2019–2024). This strategy has been co-developed with Māori and stakeholders.