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Forget about carbon - let's go on holiday! : using tourist values to conserve seagrass meadows

Kurani, Shrina LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Sciences MESM02 20151
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Seagrass meadows are a vital part of the marine ecosystem surrounding the island of Mallorca, but human-induced pressures are degrading the seagrass meadows’ stock of natural capital. Although researchers are working together with policymakers to implement and improve conservation measures, the current legal framework is not sufficient to protect the meadows from further depletion. Therefore, I use the economic clout of the tourism industry to give weight to tourist preferences, and use tourism to support the valuation of ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows.
With the support of data from 73 tourist surveys, I first valued tourist benefits from the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment, finding the top five... (More)
Seagrass meadows are a vital part of the marine ecosystem surrounding the island of Mallorca, but human-induced pressures are degrading the seagrass meadows’ stock of natural capital. Although researchers are working together with policymakers to implement and improve conservation measures, the current legal framework is not sufficient to protect the meadows from further depletion. Therefore, I use the economic clout of the tourism industry to give weight to tourist preferences, and use tourism to support the valuation of ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows.
With the support of data from 73 tourist surveys, I first valued tourist benefits from the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment, finding the top five tourist valued benefits from seagrasses were clear ocean water, sandy beaches, natural setting, time with family or friends, and swimming. These five seagrass benefits are also the ones the majority of tourists would not return to Mallorca without, even though the tourist awareness of seagrass meadows existence is less than 11%. I (2) monetized the benefits by projecting the potential losses if the tourists did not return due to the disappearance of the meadows and their corresponding services, calculating up to 6.49 billion EUR per year in losses. As the tourism sector is the largest contributor to the Mallorcan GDP, a strong relationship between tourists and the meadows reinforces the incentive for seagrass conservation. (3) I framed the decline of seagrass meadows with DPSIR to provide a human context in order to identify and develop responses such as raising awareness of the bigger picture for urban sewage and a boaters’ code of conduct for unregulated boat anchoring. Based on the lack of ecosystem-based management, this study then (4) demonstrates how free mapping and visualization softwares such as Google Earth and Google SketchUp are an accessible interface to help scientists communicate their findings to policymakers. The economic value of tourism should motivate policymakers to further their understanding of the marine ecosystem and its benefits, and strategically implement activities for its conservation. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Kurani, Shrina LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
science communication, seagrass, ecosystem services, conservation, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Sciences
report number
2015:026
language
English
id
7370053
date added to LUP
2015-06-18 12:05:12
date last changed
2015-06-18 12:05:12
@misc{7370053,
  abstract     = {Seagrass meadows are a vital part of the marine ecosystem surrounding the island of Mallorca, but human-induced pressures are degrading the seagrass meadows’ stock of natural capital. Although researchers are working together with policymakers to implement and improve conservation measures, the current legal framework is not sufficient to protect the meadows from further depletion. Therefore, I use the economic clout of the tourism industry to give weight to tourist preferences, and use tourism to support the valuation of ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows. 
With the support of data from 73 tourist surveys, I first valued tourist benefits from the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment, finding the top five tourist valued benefits from seagrasses were clear ocean water, sandy beaches, natural setting, time with family or friends, and swimming. These five seagrass benefits are also the ones the majority of tourists would not return to Mallorca without, even though the tourist awareness of seagrass meadows existence is less than 11%. I (2) monetized the benefits by projecting the potential losses if the tourists did not return due to the disappearance of the meadows and their corresponding services, calculating up to 6.49 billion EUR per year in losses. As the tourism sector is the largest contributor to the Mallorcan GDP, a strong relationship between tourists and the meadows reinforces the incentive for seagrass conservation. (3) I framed the decline of seagrass meadows with DPSIR to provide a human context in order to identify and develop responses such as raising awareness of the bigger picture for urban sewage and a boaters’ code of conduct for unregulated boat anchoring. Based on the lack of ecosystem-based management, this study then (4) demonstrates how free mapping and visualization softwares such as Google Earth and Google SketchUp are an accessible interface to help scientists communicate their findings to policymakers. The economic value of tourism should motivate policymakers to further their understanding of the marine ecosystem and its benefits, and strategically implement activities for its conservation.},
  author       = {Kurani, Shrina},
  keyword      = {science communication,seagrass,ecosystem services,conservation,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Sciences},
  title        = {Forget about carbon - let's go on holiday! : using tourist values to conserve seagrass meadows},
  year         = {2015},
}