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Erschienen in: Environmental Management 1/2022

01.04.2022

Ecosystem-Service Scaling Techniques to Evaluate the Benefits of Marine Debris Removal

verfasst von: Adam Domanski, Amanda L. Laverty

Erschienen in: Environmental Management | Ausgabe 1/2022

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Abstract

While knowledge of the ecological impacts of marine debris is continually advancing, methods to evaluate the comparative scale of these impacts are less well developed. In the case of costly environmental restoration in marine and coastal environments, quantifying and comparing the ecological impacts of diverse forms of ecosystem injuries can facilitate a more efficient selection of restoration projects. This article proposes evaluating marine debris removal projects in an ecological service equivalency analysis framework that can be used to compare marine debris removal to other types of environmental restoration. Drawing on existing spatial and temporal data with respect to marine debris impacts on habitats and resources, we demonstrate how resource managers and organizations involved in marine debris removal can quantify the ecological service benefits of a removal project and use it to comparatively select between projects based on present value ecological benefits. This valuation can be useful in natural resource damage assessment restoration selection, and for directing limited funds to marine debris removal projects which produce the greatest gains in ecological services. This ecological scaling framework is applied to a seagrass injury case study to demonstrate its application for scaling marine debris removal as compensatory restoration.
Fußnoten
1
All dollar values reported in this paper have been adjusted to 2021 values using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
 
2
The HaBREM approach is a similar habitat-based assessment technique that can be applied to the measurement of impacts from marine debris, however the scaling metric applied is some objective measure of habitat productivity rather than the degree of ecological services provided. Additional discussion can be found in Baker et al. (2020).
 
3
A description of the choice of the discount rate in HEA and REA can be found in Julius (1999).
 
4
REAs also can incorporate reproductive services, losses, and effects. For an example and discussion, see USFWS (2016).
 
5
Marine debris also has the potential to provide habitat enhancement in some areas by serving as hard bottom substrate (Havens et al. 2008). A full accounting of ecological service changes must net out all losses and gains.
 
6
Most studies to date have focused on ghost fishing impacts rather than the degradation of traps in their entirety.
 
7
We use the age of derelict gear recovered as a lower bound for injury duration. Additional research is needed to quantify the time it takes for a trap to degrade to the point at which ghost fishing impacts end.
 
8
We use this assumption for purposes of demonstrating the application of HEA to derelict fishing gear impacts. Additional research is needed to quantify the time it takes for a trap to degrade to the point at which habitat impacts end.
 
9
An important component of ecological service equivalency analysis is the known or equivalent value between different habitats and resources impacted. The analysis presented here assumes an equivalent ecological value between salt marsh and seagrass habitat, as well as the species and life stage affected by ghost fishing in each (e.g., terrapins and mammals in salt marsh, and fish and crustaceans in seagrass). Assuming that these habitats and fauna are fungible (i.e., exchangeable) but not of equal value, an additional scaling factor can be introduced to account for the relative value of each.
 
10
Calculation: 0.21 DSAYs per salt marsh-wire trap / 0.05 DSAYs per seagrass-wood trap = 4.2 seagrass-wood traps removed to equal the benefits of one salt marsh-wire trap removal.
 
11
Calculation: 0.21 DSAYs per salt marsh-wire trap / 0.07 DSAYs per seagrass-wire trap = 3 seagrass-wire traps removed to equal the benefits of one salt marsh-wire trap removal.
 
12
Calculation: 26.1 DAYs per seagrass-wire trap / 1.9 DAYs per saltmarsh-wire trap = 13.7 saltmarsh-wire traps removed to equal the benefits of one seagrass-wire trap removal.
 
13
This approach takes into account the interaction between the duration and intensity of marine debris impacts, but it does not distinguish between the relative value of individuals affected by a ghost fishing trap in a salt marsh (e.g., terrapins and mammals) and in seagrass (e.g., crabs and fish), but assumes they are fungible. An additional scaling factor can be introduced to account for this difference in value if it is known.
 
14
There are many considerations of site location necessary when determining the most suitable restoration site. On-site and in-kind restoration has the greatest chance of providing equivalent ecological services to those that were lost (see our discussion of the “equivalent-value assumption” in the introduction). However, off-site restoration may be preferred to minimize costs or the improve the probability of restoration success. See Ruhl et al., 2008 for a discussion of the Section 404 Compensatory Mitigation Program established by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps.
 
15
The duration of restoration benefits is often truncated by other environmental stressors, including climate change, sea level rise, invasive species, or other types of habitat destruction.
 
16
This calculation only includes the habitat benefits of marine debris removal and does not include any calculation of the ghost fishing benefits, since those are not directly relatable to the hypothetical seagrass injury.
 
17
Calculated by dividing the high-cost range of the seagrass planting project ($15,470) by the number of traps needed to be removed to compensate for the injury (427).
 
18
This accounts for the time-value of killed lobsters, as described in section 2. Since the life history of lobsters is not included in the analysis, this term can also be interpreted as “discounted-lobsters.”
 
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Metadaten
Titel
Ecosystem-Service Scaling Techniques to Evaluate the Benefits of Marine Debris Removal
verfasst von
Adam Domanski
Amanda L. Laverty
Publikationsdatum
01.04.2022
Verlag
Springer US
Erschienen in
Environmental Management / Ausgabe 1/2022
Print ISSN: 0364-152X
Elektronische ISSN: 1432-1009
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-022-01636-5

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