Marine and coastal ecosystems are among the most productive environments in the world and their stocks of natural capital offer a bundle of vital ecosystem services. Anthropogenic pressure seriously threatens health and long-term sustainability of marine environments. For these reasons, integrated approaches capable of combining ecological and socio-economic aspects are needed to achieve nature conservation and sustainability targets. In this study, the value of natural capital of the Egadi Islands Marine ProtectedArea (EI-MPA) was assessed through a biophysical and trophodynamic environmental accounting model.The emergy value of both autotrophic and heterotrophic natural capital stocks was calculated for the mainhabitats of the EI-MPA. Eventually, the emergy value of natural capital was converted into monetary unitsto better communicate its importance to local managers and policy-makers. The total value of naturalcapital in the EI-MPA resulted in 1.12·1021sej, equivalent to about 1.17 billion of euros. In addition, usingMarxan software, the results of the environmental accounting were integrated with spatial data on mainhuman uses. This integration took into account the trade-offs between conservation measures and humanexploitation by means of two different scenarios, with and without considering human uses in the EI-MPA. The comparison between the scenarios highlighted the importance of taking into account humanactivities in marine spatial planning (MSP), allowing the identification of key areas for natural capitalconservation. In conclusion, this study showed the importance of integrating environmental account-ing with conservation planning to support effective strategies for ecological protection and sustainablemanagement of human activities. The results of this study represent a first benchmark useful to explorealternative nature conservation strategies in the EI-MPA, and, more in general, in Mediterranean MPAs.
|Numero di pagine||13|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2017|
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