Linking Marine Spatial Planning to Ecosystem Services

Name: Linking Marine Spatial Planning to Ecosystem Services

Time & Date: 8:00PM – 9:30PM, Monday, October 25, 2010

Location: Green College Coach House, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road


From oil spills to dead zones to over-fishing, marine ecosystems are showing alarming signs of distress around the world. Marine Spatial Planning, which involves allocating human activities over space and time, promises to improve ocean management and contribute toward restoring degraded marine ecosystems.

Green College Resident Member Sarah Klain’s doctoral research links Marine Spatial Planning to ecosystem services. Many natural resource decision-makers have begun to account for ecosystem services, the benefits that people get from nature. This ecosystem service accounting has focused on the economic value of nature. Although cultural ecosystem services are frequently mentioned in ecosystem service research, these intangible values have yet to be systematically identified, characterized and adequately represented in Marine Spatial Planning processes.

Through her study in northern Vancouver Island, Klain has interviewed a wide array of people whose livelihoods depend on the ocean, and has identified patterns in the intangible values associated with the ocean, and activities on it. With the aim of contributing towards Marine Spatial Planning, Klain has developed methods to map the monetary and non-monetary values and threats that ocean-users associate with the sea. These methods can inform a wide array of Marine Spatial Planning efforts in different contexts. Her results provide information directly relevant to her research partners: the Regional District Government of Mount Waddington and the non-governmental organization Living Oceans Society.

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