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The value of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica: A natural capital assessment

August 19, 2013

Making nature’s value visible to humans is a key issue for the XXI century and it is crucial to identify and measure natural capital to incorporate benefits or costs of changes in ecosystem services into policy. Emergy analysis, a method able to analyze the overall functioning of a system, was applied to reckon the value of main ecosystem services provided by Posidonia oceanica, a fragile and precious Mediterranean seagrass ecosystem. Estimates, based on calculation of resources employed by nature, resulted in a value of 172 € m−2 a−1. Sediment retained by meadow is most relevant input, composing almost the whole P. oceanica value. Remarks about economic losses arising from meadow regression have been made through a time-comparison of meadow maps. Suggested procedure represents an operative tool to provide a synthetic monetary measure of ecosystem services to be employed when comparing natural capital to human and financial capitals in a substitutability perspective.

Vassallo  P, Paoli C, Rovere A, Montefalcone M, Morri C, Bianchi C N, in press. The value of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica: A natural capital assessment, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.07.044. Article.

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