Development of valuation frameworks and principles

Mussel farm, baches and forestry in Marlborough Sounds. © Jim Sinner, Cawthron Institute

We are identifying frameworks and principles for recognising the multiple values of the marine environment to support ecosystem-based management. 

Project leader: Jim Sinner, Cawthron Institute

Duration: April 2016 – July 2019 
Budget: $300,000 
Status: Completed
 

Values are central to environmental decision-making, but there is no consensus about how they should be used.  

Environmental valuation involves describing why places and environments are important. In our research, we engaged with ‘values-holders’ about their experiences with planning processes in the Marlborough Sounds. We found that formal marine environment valuation and decision-making processes can alienate participants, demanding huge investments of time and personal sacrifices. While assessment of values is intended to improve decision-making, formal processes can generate antagonism that undermine people’s confidence in democratic institutions. All valuation processes are imperfect, so our research covers use of both formal and informal methods to enable people to present their values.  

We have identified several tentative principles about how to acknowledge diverse values and values-holders and help to maintain confidence in democratic institutions. We have explored valuation frameworks that represent three broad approaches to assessing values for decision-making: cost-benefit analysis, ecosystem services and multi-criteria analysis.  

Māori resource management professionals have expressed that ecosystem-based management should sit within the Treaty of Waitangi framework. Among other things, mana whenua want to explore how they can share decision-making. Further engagement is needed to identify frameworks and principles that would give Māori confidence in the decisions being made. 

These and other frameworks and principles will be further tested in a Sustainable Seas case study in Tasman and Golden Bays to generate recommendations for future practice. 

News Story

Valuation and decision-making in NZ's marine environment

Journal articles

Šunde C, Sinner J, Tadaki M, Stephenson J, Glavovic B, Awatere S, Giorgetti A, Lewis N Young A and Chan K (2018). Valuation as destruction? The social effects of valuation processes in contested marine spaces. Marine Policy 97, 170-178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2018.05.024

Reports

Sinner J, Šunde C, Giorgetti A, Tadaki M, Stephenson J, Awatere S, Glavovic B, Hewitt J, Lewis N. 2018. Exploring valuation frameworks and principles for sustainable seas. Prepared for Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Cawthron Report No. 3234. 62 p. plus appendices. 

Latest news and updates

Where's our research happening?

We’ve developed an interactive map that shows the locations and key information of all our research projects. The aim is to help connect people with the research happening in their community.

Media statement: Today's marine environment report from MfE and StatsNZ

Julie Hall, Director: "It is deeply concerning that the state of our marine environment has not improved in the last three years. Resilient coasts and oceans are essential to New Zealanders' health and wealth, so urgent action is needed to address the decline. There is a growing need for ecosystem-based management (EBM) to holistically manage risk and sustain Aotearoa's coasts and oceans. This is even more important given the ongoing impacts of climate change."

Job opportunity: Communications advisor

Do you have science communication skills and at least 2 years experience? Do you care about Aotearoa's oceans and how people use/value our seas? Then we've got a job for you.