Valuation of ecosystem services provided by coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico: Approach, application, and relevance
Results/Conclusions Here we present the results of research projects focused on ecosystem services provided by Gulf of Mexico coastal habitats. In the first study a meta-regression analysis is used to calculate the changes in selected ecosystem services values due to sea level rise in Galveston Bay, TX. The habitats of focus are salt marsh and fresh marsh and the selected services are habitat, disturbance regulation, recreation, waste regulation, and aesthetics. The value of the selected services shows monetary losses in excess of $60 million per year from 2009 to 2100 for fresh marsh and more than $16 million for salt marsh. The second is an original valuation study of market and non-market ecosystem services provided by marsh, mangroves, and oyster reefs. While oyster catch can be valued using market data, residents’ willingness to pay for viable ecosystems is a much broader and inclusive “commodity”. Estimating passive use values requires a stated preference approach where survey respondents are asked a series of questions in order to elicit their willingness to pay to ensure that the ecosystem services continue to be delivered. Willingness to pay per household per year per %-point change in habitat area varies from $0.8 in Florida to $4.0 in Louisiana for marshes; and from $1.1 in Louisiana to $5.1. in Alabama/Mississippi for oyster reefs.