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A simple spatial typology for assessment of complex coastal ecosystem services across multiple scales

O'Higgins, Tim, Nogueira, António A., Lillebø, Ana I.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.649 pp. 1452-1466
coastal water, ecosystem services, estuaries, supply balance, Portugal
This paper aims to present and demonstrate the applicability of a methodology to characterise supply and demand for ecosystem services (ES) on the basis of spatial properties and interdependence, and economic properties of ES. The typology is demonstrated to support inclusion of ES flow in social-ecological systems management. Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon, Portugal, is used as a showcase for the proposed spatial typology for ecosystem services assessment across multiple scales. To address the proposed objective a four-step methodology was developed: i) choice of the management area and definition of the boundaries of the system to be governed; ii) assessment and classification of ES produced or consumed within the management area, where supply or demand of an ES may be endogenous, exogenous or partially exogenous/endogenous; iii) mapping of production and consumption areas covering the major categories of ES (biotic and abiotic provisioning services, regulating and maintenance services, and cultural services) and major types of spatial relationships, which may be independent; interdependent, dependent or controlling; and iv) spatial characterisation of the ES production and benefits based on excludability and rivalness of ES. In Ria de Aveiro from the variety of ES and their spatial relationships we highlight interdependencies between the Lagoon and other locations outside the management area. This approach shows that the proposed methodology can support the understanding of these interrelationships and improve these connections by, identifying inherent transactions and key-actors.