Economic valuation and socioeconomics of coral reefs: methodological issues and three case studies
- In most tropical countries, coral reef ecosystems provide coastal populations with a number of goods and services. However, a variety of anthropogenic practices threatens reef health and therefore jeopardizes the benefits flowing from these goods and services. These threats range from local pollution, sedimentation, destructive fishing practices and coral mining, to global issues such as coral bleaching. This paper gives an overview of economic valuation (total economic value, cost benefit analysis) and the techniques supporting it (contingent valuation, travel cost, effect on production, etc.) as they are applied to coral reef ecosystems. The paper also highlights some of the socioeconomic issues of reef degradation and conservation and shows the importance of economic issues involved in stakeholder analysis. Stakeholder analysis helps to show who gains and who loses from threats to the coral reef and from conservation measures. Together with economic valuation, it thereby helps to determine what drives unsustainable practices and how such practices can best be mediated given the local social situation. Three case study examples are explored. The first examines the total economic value of a specific area, namely Jamaica, and the costs and benefits of this area when coastal management is introduced. The second demonstrates cost benefit and stakeholder analysis of a threat to coral reefs. The third estimates the economic costs of climate change (coral bleaching, erosion, etc.). The paper concludes with an up-to-date summary of economic valuation studies on coral reefs.
- Miscellaneous themes 
- Book Chapter