MEPS 467:15-28 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09967

Towards an ecosystem approach for understanding public values concerning marine biodiversity loss

Adriana Ressurreição1,*, Tomasz Zarzycki2, Michel Kaiser3, Gareth Edwards-Jones4,†, Tomaz Ponce Dentinho5, Ricardo S. Santos1, James Gibbons4

1Centre of IMAR of the University of the Azores, Department of Oceanography and Fisheries/UAz & LARSyS Associated Laboratory, Rua Prof. Dr. Frederico Machado 4, 9901-862 Horta, Azores, Portugal
2Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdansk, Al. Marszalka Pilsudskiego 46, Gdynia Pomorskie 81-378, Poland
3School of Ocean Science, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, Anglesey LL59 5AB, UK
4School of the Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, Bangor University, Gwynedd LL57 2UW, UK
5Department of Agrarian Sciences, University of Azores, Terra Chã 9701-851, Angra do Heroismo, Portugal
*Email: Deceased

ABSTRACT: Recent European legislation requires the adoption of an ecosystem-based approach for managing marine systems in which societal values and good science contribute to attainment of ‘good environmental status’ for Europe’s seas by 2020. At present, there is a lack of studies that consider public values for marine biodiversity changes taking into account the cultural diversity within Europe. We used a contingent valuation survey to explore respondents’ marginal willingness to pay (WTP) and motivations to prevent 3 levels of species loss (10, 25 and 50%) as compared to current levels for fish and all marine species. The survey was undertaken in 2 sites: the Azores islands (NE Atlantic) and the Gulf of Gdansk (Baltic Sea). Results, based on 747 interviews, showed that motivations underlying WTP for marine species conservation encompassed primarily bequest values and direct use values. Respondents from different locations differed in their attitudes and values towards marine biodiversity conservation. Scope tests revealed significant differences in WTP for different levels of species loss; however the magnitudes of the scope sensitivity were constrained by a lack of awareness about the consequences of biodiversity changes and the welfare tradeoffs involved. This result highlights the need for the scientific community to better communicate knowledge about the link between biodiversity changes and human wellbeing and to embrace a fuller dialogue between policymakers and the public. A successful ecosystem based approach must accommodate the diversity of preferences and hence may need to be adapted to reflect regional diversity within Europe.


KEY WORDS: Marine biodiversity changes · Marginal values · Cultural diversity · Scope sensitivity · Contingent valuation · Willingness to pay · Species loss · Payment card


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Cite this article as: Ressurreição A, Zarzycki T, Kaiser M, Edwards-Jones G, Ponce Dentinho T, Santos RS, Gibbons J (2012) Towards an ecosystem approach for understanding public values concerning marine biodiversity loss. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 467:15-28. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09967

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