Mapping and assessing ecosystem services provided by the Weddell Sea area

Thomas.Brey [ at ]


The purpose of ecosystem services (ES) research is to integrate conservation and natural resource management into resource and land-use decision making. Investments in conservation should be recognized as profitable decisions both in regard to the economy and human well-being. However, for this to happen, and for policy and finance mechanisms to be established, a scientific basis is needed (Daily et al., 2009). For this reason, the main objective of this master thesis was to quantitatively assess and map three main ES provided by the Weddell Sea region: genetic resources, carbon sequestration and tourism. Additionally, synergies and trade-offs between the ES were explored. Another target pursued was to examine the influence of sea ice cover on the service delivery. This is the first time the Weddell Sea is subject to a detailed regional ES assessment. The present study should contribute to the proposal for a Weddell Sea marine protected area (MPA) expected for consideration in October 2015 at the earliest. The analyses conducted during this study covered both spatial and temporal correlations between pairs of ES, and between individual ES and sea ice coverage. The outcome shows that there are indeed areas where multiple benefits are provided simultaneously (“super hotspots”). In general, though, service delivery in the studied seacape is distinctively heterogeneous. This result calls for cautiousness in relation to expectations that small-scaled conservation efforts achieve their intended goals. The results also show that particularly tourism is closely connected to sea ice cover, which is the reason why this sector could experience strong growth in view of global warming.

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Deininger, M. (2015): Mapping and assessing ecosystem services provided by the Weddell Sea area , Master thesis, University of Bayreuth, Germany.

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