Journal: Journal for Nature Conservation, vol. 44, 50–65, 2018
The natural conservation of coastal lagoons is important not only for their ecological importance, but also because of the valuable ecosystem services they provide for human welfare and wellbeing. Coastal lagoons are shallow semi-enclosed systems that support important habitats such as wetlands, mangroves, salt-marshes and seagrass meadows, as well as a rich biodiversity. Coastal lagoons are also complex social-ecological systems and the ecosystem services that lagoons deliver provide livelihoods, benefits wellbeing and welfare to humans. This study assessed, quantified and valued the ecosystem services of 32 coastal lagoons. The main findings of the study were: (i) the definitions of ecosystem services are still not generally accepted; (ii) the quantification of ecosystem services is made in many different ways, using different units; (iii) the evaluation in monetary terms of some ecosystem service is problematic, often relying on non-monetary evaluation methods; (iv) when ecosystem services are valued in monetary terms, this may represent very different human benefits; and, (v) different aspects of climate change, including increasing temperature (SST), sea-level rise (SLR) and changes in rainfall patterns threaten the valuable ecosystem services of coastal lagoons.