Disaggregating ecosystem service values and priorities by wealth, age, and education

Lau, Jacqueline D., Hicks, Christina C., Gurney, Georgina G., and Cinner, Joshua E. (2018) Disaggregating ecosystem service values and priorities by wealth, age, and education. Ecosystem Services, 29 (Part A). pp. 91-98.

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Ecosystem services support the livelihoods and wellbeing of millions of people in developing countries. However, the benefits from ecosystem services are rarely, if ever, distributed equally within communities. Little work has examined whether and how socio-economic characteristics (e.g. age, poverty, education) are related to how people value and prioritize ecosystem services. We interviewed 372 people connected to coral reef fisheries in 28 communities across four countries in the western Indian Ocean. Each fisher ranked the importance of nine ecosystem service benefits, and then rated which services they most desired an improvement in quantity or quality. We disaggregated their responses to see whether age, poverty, or years of formal schooling influence how fishers rank and prioritize coral reef ecosystem services. Overall, we found little empirical evidence of strong differences between groups. However, the wealthiest fishers did prioritize improvements in habitat ecosystem services and recreational benefits more than other fishers. Our findings emphasize that people directly dependent on coral reef fisheries for their livelihood hold mostly similar values and priorities for ecosystem services. However, poverty influences whether fishers prioritize improvements in supporting ecosystem services associated with environmental care, in this case habitat benefits. Making the differences and similarities between the importance of and priorities for ecosystem services explicit can help decision-makers to target and frame management to be more socially inclusive and equitable and therefore, more effective.

Item ID: 52621
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2212-0416
Keywords: Poverty, Ecosystem services, Social differentiation, Coral reefs, Fisheries
Copyright Information: © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Projects and Grants: WIOMSA Marine Science for Management scheme (MASMA)
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2018 07:32
FoR Codes: 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380105 Environment and resource economics @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 50%
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