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Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Service Benefits and Welfare Impacts of Offshore Marine Protected Areas: A Study from the Baltic Sea

Kristīne Pakalniete (), Heini Ahtiainen (), Juris Aigars (), Ingrīda Andersone (), Aurelija Armoškaite (), Henning Sten Hansen () and Solvita Strāķe ()
Additional contact information
Kristīne Pakalniete: AKTiiVS Ltd., LV-1004 Riga, Latvia
Heini Ahtiainen: Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), FI-00790 Helsinki, Finland
Juris Aigars: Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology, LV-1007 Riga, Latvia
Ingrīda Andersone: Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology, LV-1007 Riga, Latvia
Aurelija Armoškaite: Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology, LV-1007 Riga, Latvia
Henning Sten Hansen: Department of Planning, Aalborg University Copenhagen, DK-2450 Copenhagen, Denmark
Solvita Strāķe: Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology, LV-1007 Riga, Latvia

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 18, 1-32

Abstract: Knowledge of ecosystem services (ES) and the benefits provided by offshore marine areas, including the welfare impacts from the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) is still limited. In the present study we evaluated benefits from ES, citizens’ willingness-to-pay for potential changes in the provision of ES, and welfare losses to citizens due to restrictions on economic activities from establishing new offshore MPAs in Latvian waters. The scenarios for the economic valuation were based on analysing the supply of ES from the protected marine habitats, showing changes in the ES supply in policy relevant scenarios of the MPA size. Our study evaluates a wide array of ES delivered by offshore protected habitats and reveals that citizens’ willingness-to-pay for preserving habitats and ES supply exceeds their welfare losses from restrictions in economic activities. Our approach supports the prioritisation of habitat types according to their contribution to ES supply and benefits for citizens. The analysis can be complemented with spatial data regarding distribution of habitats, providing an opportunity to identify areas with the highest ES benefits to support marine protection and spatial planning.

Keywords: ecosystem services; offshore marine protected areas; environmental valuation; choice experiment; Baltic Sea; maritime spatial planning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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