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5.3.5 Plymouth Sound to Fowey: Selecting the Ecosystem Services Assessment Focus

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Identification of the Ecosystem Services Assessment focus was guided by the VALMER case study team, in dialogue with members of the Task and Finish Group.

These discussions addressed a number of important issues, for example:

  • What were the important ecosystem services and benefits, and site management issues and concerns?
  • What could be achieved realistically with the resources available, including data and maps?


5 3  Plymouth Fowey   Looe Island from Horepoint


Through discussions with stakeholders it was agreed that a broadscale Ecosystem Services Assessment would be undertaken, entailing valuation and mapping of all marine and coastal ecosystem services within the site, wherever possible. This was felt to be a useful approach and that the associated outputs had the potential to benefit a range of marine and coastal management.

Stakeholders also explicitly voiced a desire for cultural ecosystem services to be researched.

An interest in cultural services stemmed from the need to better understand the links between the marine environment and human well-being and the importance of tourism and recreation in the area.

A key consideration within these discussions was a desire by the Cornwall Council case study coordinator to explore how the Ecosystem Services Assessment and associated scenario development process could support the implementation of the Cornwall Maritime Strategy.  The strategy explicitly states that it should be ensured, “that a sound evidence base, including socio-economic impacts and valuation of ecosystem goods and services, is used to inform all strategic decision making in the maritime area” [Cornwall Council 2012, p. 16].

The Ecosystem Services Assessment process consisted of four connected steps:

  1. a baseline assessment of key  ecosystem service in the case study area
  2. stakeholder generated hypothetical future actions (resulting from the scenario building process undertaken during stakeholder meetings)
  3. actions developed into three hypothetical scenarios
  4. scenarios applied to the baseline with associated recalculation of the Ecosystem Services Assessment for each of the three scenarios

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