Communicating the value of marine conservation using an ecosystem service matrix approach

Shane Geange, Michael Townsend, Dana Clark, Joanne Ellis, Andrew M. Lohrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Matrix approaches are useful for linking ecosystem services to habitats that underpin their delivery. Matrix applications in marine ecosystem services research have been primarily qualitative, focusing on ‘habitat presence’ without including other attributes that effect service potential. We developed an evidence-based matrix approach of Ecosystem Service Potential (ESP) for New Zealand benthic marine habitats, and used two marine reserves to demonstrate that integrating information on the spatial extent and quality of habitats improved ESP evaluation. The two case studies identified substantial spatio-temporal variability in ESP: within one reserve, specific ESP showed an approximately 1.5-fold increase in the 29 years following protection. A comparison of two reserves found that the spatial extent of habitats contributing to the medicinal resources and waste-water treatment were 5 and 53 times greater respectively in one relative to the other. Integrating habitat area and quality with the ESP matrix improves on previous marine matrix-based approaches, providing a better indication of service potential. The matrix approach helps to communicate the non-market value of supporting and regulating services and can be used by resource managers to identify and track the potential for benefits derived from benthic marine habitats within existing, or new, marine protected areas.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-163
Number of pages14
JournalEcosystem Services
StatePublished - Dec 18 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Department of Conservation under Science Contracts 4546 and 4635, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Contract No. C01X1515 (Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge project 2.1.3), and NIWA Coasts and Oceans Research Programme 5 (SCI 2015/16). We wish to thank an anonymous reviewer who provided many helpful comments on this manuscript and workshop participants: Megan Carbines, Deanna Clement, Sean Cooper, Richard Ford, Debbie Freeman, Nick Hallet, Casper Kraan, Conrad Pilditch, Candida Savage, Richard Taylor and Jarrod Walker. Simon Thrush, Judi Hewitt and Carolyn Lundquist advised on early development of the approach.


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