The coastal marine area hosts among the most productive ecosystems in the world, in terms of biomass and species richness. These ecosystems' natural capital stocks provide essential flows of resources for the environ-ment and human life. The distribution of natural capital (NC) and environmental flows (ENFL) characterizing the coastal marine habitats of Ligurian Sea, a biodiversity hotspot in the Mediterranean region, were assessed to define their current state. The study area was divided into 43 functional spatial sections, defined as "biomarine units". In each biomarine unit natural capital and environmental flows were estimated using data on benthic and fish biomass. Emergy analysis, a thermodynamics-based methodology that expresses the costs in terms of re-sources incurred by nature to maintain the ecological processes of the marine coastal habitats, was then applied to assess the natural capital and the environmental flows in biophysical terms (solar emergy joules, sej), and using appropriate conversion factors, in monetary terms (emergy euro, emeuro). The monetary equivalents facilitate understanding for stakeholders and pave the way for the inclusion of marine resources value in socioeconomic and political contexts. The total value of natural capital for the Ligurian coastal and marine area is 2.11 billion emeuro, while for environmental flows, it is 1.43 billion emeuro a-1. Greater values belong to units included within the boundaries of protected areas, proving the efficiency of the protection measures taken. These values represent a reference point and shall be kept constant to preserve natural capital and to ensure services provisioning at least at the current level. This work identify a method useful to monitor the status of natural capital value and environmental flows along Ligurian coast, which can be helpful to stakeholders and policymakers for better monitoring and management of the area.

Assessment of natural capital and environmental flows distribution: A Mediterranean case study

Bordoni R.;Rigo I.;Dapueto G.;Povero P.;Vassallo P.;Paoli C.
2023-01-01

Abstract

The coastal marine area hosts among the most productive ecosystems in the world, in terms of biomass and species richness. These ecosystems' natural capital stocks provide essential flows of resources for the environ-ment and human life. The distribution of natural capital (NC) and environmental flows (ENFL) characterizing the coastal marine habitats of Ligurian Sea, a biodiversity hotspot in the Mediterranean region, were assessed to define their current state. The study area was divided into 43 functional spatial sections, defined as "biomarine units". In each biomarine unit natural capital and environmental flows were estimated using data on benthic and fish biomass. Emergy analysis, a thermodynamics-based methodology that expresses the costs in terms of re-sources incurred by nature to maintain the ecological processes of the marine coastal habitats, was then applied to assess the natural capital and the environmental flows in biophysical terms (solar emergy joules, sej), and using appropriate conversion factors, in monetary terms (emergy euro, emeuro). The monetary equivalents facilitate understanding for stakeholders and pave the way for the inclusion of marine resources value in socioeconomic and political contexts. The total value of natural capital for the Ligurian coastal and marine area is 2.11 billion emeuro, while for environmental flows, it is 1.43 billion emeuro a-1. Greater values belong to units included within the boundaries of protected areas, proving the efficiency of the protection measures taken. These values represent a reference point and shall be kept constant to preserve natural capital and to ensure services provisioning at least at the current level. This work identify a method useful to monitor the status of natural capital value and environmental flows along Ligurian coast, which can be helpful to stakeholders and policymakers for better monitoring and management of the area.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1125755
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