MEASURING THE SOCIAL VALUE OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN THE MISSION-ARANSAS NERR: COUPLING THE SOLVES TOOL WITH HABITAT AND SPECIES DATA
Knapp, Landon Cabell
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Recent reviews have called attention to the lack of empirical research addressing theorized linkages between supporting ecosystem services, biodiversity, and cultural ecosystem services in estuarine and marine settings. This is despite the increasing emphasis ecosystem services receive in environmental management techniques and research incorporating human social dynamics, such as ecosystem-based management. This study analyzed the relationship between select supporting ecosystem services and biodiversity and how those services, along with biodiversity, influenced the provisioning of cultural ecosystem services to residents and visitors of an estuarine reserve site in Texas, U.S.A. Analytical methodology from the fields of ecology as well as social sciences were employed during this synthesis study and combined using the spatial analysis tool SolVES in ArcGIS. Results indicated a significant relationship exists between supporting services and biodiversity and that those interrelated variables provide a sound model for predicting the allocation of social value for the cultural ecosystem services of the study area. The knowledge generated by this study provides useful information for managers at the study site when evaluating trade-offs in the decision-making process. Additionally, the methodology detailed within this study provides a framework for conducting future social-ecological analyses in estuarine areas with similar social and environmental dynamics.