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National Estimates of Values of Philippine Reefs' Ecosystem Services

Tamayo, Natasha Charmaine A., Anticamara, Jonathan A., Acosta-Michlik, Lilibeth
Ecological economics 2018 v.146 pp. 633-644
accounting, aesthetic value, biodiversity, coral reefs, decision making, economic valuation, ecosystem services, ecosystems, financial economics, fisheries, income, issues and policy, livelihood, multicultural diversity, surveys, tourism, willingness to pay, Philippines
Ecosystem Services (ES) – the direct (e.g., food and natural medicines) and indirect (e.g., cultural diversity and aesthetic values) benefits people obtain from various ecosystems – need to be assessed to aid decision makers and concerned public in creating policies that ensure continuous flow of ES to their beneficiaries (e.g., fisheries, food, income, livelihood, and traditional way of life to fishers and consumers). However, to date, ES assessments in Philippine reefs are mostly concentrated only on fisheries and tourism or on few areas in the Philippines (e.g., Pangasinan and Bohol Marine Triangle). This study fills research gaps by assessing coral reefs across 15 regions in the Philippines by estimating the following: (1) potential reef fisheries and Willingness-To-Pay (WTP) biodiversity values using underwater surveys and literature data, (2) reef fisheries value using Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and literature data, (3) tourism value using Department of Tourism (DOT) and literature data, and (4) Total Economic Value (TEV). The TEV of Philippine reefs' ES amounted to 4 billion US$/yr or 140,000 US$/km2/yr. Furthermore, in each region of the Philippines, annual TEV ranged from 100 to 800 million US$, with potential reef fisheries value contributing the most in the TEV, followed by reef fisheries, tourism, and WTP biodiversity values. In addition, the Visayas regions have the highest values of benefits from coral reefs. Although the Philippines is deriving millions to billions of dollars of economic benefits from coral reefs, the observed degradation and temporal decline in coastal ecosystems could lead to a decline in the potential reef fisheries value, subsequently the TEV. The Philippines need to improve accounting and managing the derived benefits from coral reefs to ensure the sustainability and continuous flow of these benefits for present and future Filipino beneficiaries.