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Estimating the value of goods and services in a Marine Protected Area: the case of Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve, Kenya
Mwakha, V.A. (2011). Estimating the value of goods and services in a Marine Protected Area: the case of Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve, Kenya. MSc Thesis. VUB: Brussel. 105 pp.

Thesis info:

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Document type: Dissertation

    ISW, Kenya, Coast, Watamu
Author keywords
    Biodiversity, MPA, CBD, Fisheries, livelihoods, ecosystem goods and services, TEV

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  • Mwakha, V.A., more

    Marine and coastal ecosystems provide a wide range of goods and services that support the livelihoods of human population as well as inter alia maintain vital environmental functions and processes, supports biodiversity and protect shorelines. These ecosystems are persistently exposed to anthropogenic threats ranging from conversion to other land uses, overexploitation, and pollution to unsustainable management practices. The impacts of climate change and other natural causes add to the degradation. Often, decision making seldom take into consideration the actual value of these ecosystems resulting mostly in gross undervaluation of these goods and services. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been established with a purpose of conserving biodiversity and promoting ecotourism. This study determined the monetary value of goods and services within the Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve, the distribution of conservation benefits and costs amongst stakeholders and the costs of biodiversity conservation. We determined a TEV of EUR 103,818.36 ± 63.30 ha-1 year-1. This value does not include the values of fuelwood, timber, carbon sequestration and coastal protection that we derived in different units. We established that local communities are highly dependent on these ecosystem goods and services with most of them relying on fishing or fishery related activities. Tourism activities associated with the MPA was the main economic activity in the area attracting tourists and supporting livelihoods. However, an unequal distribution of benefits amongst stakeholders from ecosystem goods and services was observed. This is exacerbated by low levels of education and poverty coupled with limited resources mostly leading to conflicts amongst stakeholders or resource users. Boat operators and owners who earn their income directly from tourism benefited more than the other stakeholders. Indirect use values accounted for more than two thirds of the total economic value. We established that the costs of biodiversity conservation are high though appreciation of the value is low. Our overall estimate indicates that maintaining the protected area is more economically beneficial in the long-term. In line with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), this study forms a step towards integrating protected areas into wider landscapses, seascapes and sectoral plans and strategies while demonstrating that MPAs are of important national economic benefit.

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