Ecosystem services assessment and compensation costs for installing seaweed farms

In a global context of promotion and expansion of blue growth initiatives, the development of activities such as aquaculture calls for the assessment of the potential impacts on biodiversity at different levels and associated services. This paper presents an assessment of the potential impact of the installation of seaweed farms on ecosystem services and the induced compensation costs. Biophysical and socioeconomic indicators have been developed for helping decision makers to select the most suitable locations. The approach considers a multi-criteria approach based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA). The former is used to obtain biophysical ecosystem services and socioeconomic indicators and the latter to evaluate the costs required to compensate the loss of cultural and provisioning ecosystem services. A case-study in the Normand-Breton (Saint Malo) Gulf, France, illustrates this method through the analysis of hypothetical locations of seaweed farms. Results highlight the differences between alternative locations regarding biophysical constraints (in terms of distance and depth), potential risks of conflicts with existing uses, impacts on habitats and the ecosystem services delivered, and compensation costs. This case-study illustrates the flexibility of this approach which can be further adapted to include other indicators in order to deliver integrated information to coastal planners.


Integrated marine policy, Habitat equivalency analysis, Compensation costs, No net loss, Blue growth

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Cabral Pedro, Levrel Harold, Viard F., Frangoudes Katia, Girard Sophie, Scemama Pierre (2016). Ecosystem services assessment and compensation costs for installing seaweed farms. Marine Policy. 71. 157-165.,

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