fulbright Taiwan online journal

fulbright Taiwan online journal

Author: Nathaniel Maynard 馬耐德

Nathaniel Maynard 馬耐德

Distribution of Ecosystem Service Benefits: An Initial Look

    Natural resource economics remains a powerful tool in both effective marine policy design and public advocacy. While total economic valuations now have a strong legal, policy, and cultural history in the United States, globally much work remains in understanding benefit allocation (NOAA 2013; Edgar et al. 2014). Where do the benefits of nature go? Generally, economists explain that this value goes to the public equally (Martín-López, Montes, and Benayas 2008). However, given certain inherent social inequalities, in reality, certain benefits go to certain groups or institutions first and only reach other sectors later. In my previous article, I shared initial results of the total economic value (TEV) of the Kenting National Park marine area. For an explanation of those methods, please refer to that article. This time, I propose an experimental methodology to map out the potential benefits of an ecosystem so we can better design marine resource policies to benefit the entire community. Scope Covering most of the Hengchun peninsula, the Kenting National Park (KNP) represents a logical scope. However, given the importance of KNP for Taiwan, we must take into account the entire island in terms of benefits distributions. The benefits of these corals extend far

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Seeing the Coral for the Reef

     According to research by the Kenting National Park (KNP), more than 80% of Taiwanese people will visit the park at some point in their life, and of those, 70% will go to one of the park’s coral areas. Over 400,000 international and domestic tourists visit the area each month. These tourists bring critical revenue to the Hengchun Peninsula supporting livelihoods and infrastructure. At the same time, rising tourism increases overfishing, water pollution, and coastal development, all of which damage marine biodiversity. Humans need both economic development and natural integrity, but how do we balance these sometimes-competing goals?        In the past, policy makers tended to focus on either growth or conservation to the detriment of both. Natural resource economics helps us understand ecosystems in monetary terms using social science–bringing our relationship with nature into the realm of financial planning. Once we know an ecosystem’s value, we can find appropriate legal settlements, reprioritize development goals, and help raise public awareness for better conservation. No ecosystem needs more protection right now than coral reefs, the beating heart of Kenting.        Coral, the ocean’s calcium rainforests, supports 25% of the world’s marine biodiversity while covering less than 1% of

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Research & Reflections

fulbright taiwan online journal