The GOI is currently sponsoring an interdisciplinary study with the purpose of determining the economic value of marine ecosystem services in Portugal.
This research is expected to produce policy-relevant scientific findings that contribute directly to the adoption of new policies, changes in existing ones, and management of marine ecosystems.
The research project is being carried out by two leading research institutions, resulting in the integration of natural sciences (CESAM, at the University of Aveiro) and economics (NOVA School of Business and Economics). Their interdisciplinary approach involves joint work between natural science and social science researchers, thus meaningfully bridging the divide between those two fields of knowledge.
Research efforts are focused on the marine area between Peniche and Nazaré with the purpose of producing a textbook example of economic valuation of marine ecosystem services, and of how these contribute to improve decision-making processes and raise marine environmental awareness.
The lines of research adopted concern (i) the modelling of multiple and linked ecosystem processes and services in the context of decision-making, (ii) the consequences of changes in ecosystem service flows to human well-being, and (iii) the policy instruments that can be used to manage human impacts on those services equitably and efficiently.
This will contribute to improve current valuation methodologies, for example by looking into the ecosystem benefits which are indirectly linked to the economic system and for which market values are more difficult to determine. It will also investigate the mutual links between marine ecosystems and well-being, including the impacts that economic activities have on the ability of marine ecosystems to deliver their services.
The final results of the research project are expected in 2016. They will be useful for decision-makers, NGOs and businesses to improve their planning and regulatory decisions at the local, national and EU levels. Until then, preliminary results will be made available as policy briefs, that is, short documents that use a non-specialist language for a variety of stakeholders.
Read here the project’s first policy brief, where preliminary results on blue carbon sequestration, the giant wave off Nazaré and the sardine fishery are shown.