Economic valuation of kelp forests in northern Chile: values of goods and services of the ecosystem
Kelp beds, besides being one of the most important benthic resources in northern Chile, provide a variety of environmental goods and services. In order to evaluate economically the wild kelp populations in northern Chile (26A degrees to 32A degrees S) more than simply their commercial value as a source of raw materials for alginate extraction, we used several economic indicators to holistically assess the value of a group of brown seaweeds of economic importance, Lessonia spp. and Macrocystis pyrifera: (1) market value of biomass as a source of raw material for extraction of alginic acid, (2) market value of associated species of economic importance, (3) value as a source of scientific information, (4) value as a climate buffer (CO2 capture and release of O-2), (5) value of associated biodiversity (non-commercial species), (6) value as cultural heritage and (7) value as a reservoir of biodiversity. Existence values of kelp beds which estimate the willingness of citizens to pay and work without payment to preserve the ecosystem were calculated using the contingent valuation technique. The results indicate that kelp beds in northern Chile have a total value of US $540 million. Of this total, kelp fishery accounts for 75 % and associated-species fisheries account for 15 %. In this context, the economic value of Chilean kelp beds is mainly associated with the industry of alginate extraction. By contrast, existence value as a source of scientific information or environmental buffer for CO2 capture or O-2 production represents only 9 % of the total value, representing a very low relative importance to society. The economic valuation of coastal resources and marine ecosystems is a complementary tool for decision making and implementation of public policies related to the conservation and sustainable exploitation of renewable resources and their ecosystems.
|Título según WOS:||Economic valuation of kelp forests in northern Chile: values of goods and services of the ecosystem|
|Título según SCOPUS:||Economic valuation of kelp forests in northern Chile: values of goods and services of the ecosystem|
|Título de la Revista:||JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYCOLOGY|
|Fecha de publicación:||2014|
|Página de inicio:||1081|