Mapping the Economic Value of Ecosystems on Saba

This report will specifically focus on the spatial distribution of the ecosystem values and eventually visualize these values geographically in a total economic value map. The total economic value (TEV) of the ecosystems of Saba is the sum of several different and mutually exclusive economic values. All these values have been previously studied and are published in different reports (Cado van der Lely et al. 2014; Dekker et al. 2014; Van de Kerkhof et al. 2014). In this report we will merely visualize these values geographically and add up the values to create the TEV map. The TEV map will then be used to assess whether current spatial planning covers those ecosystems which are most valuable to the economy of Saba.

The TEV map has clearly demonstrated that for the marine and the terrestrial ecosystems of Saba, the economic value is highly concentrated on relatively small areas. On the island the economic value is mostly concentrated on the slopes of Mount Scenery. This value can for a large part be attributed to what tourist spend and are willing to pay for a vacation enjoying the natural beauty of trails around Mount Scenery. The marine value can almost solely be attributed to the coral reefs of the coastal waters of Saba.

Although, there are several policies in place to manage the areas with high economic value on the terrestrial grounds of Saba, there is no authority that is in charge and responsible for the conservation of certain economically valuable natural areas. To guarantee the sustainability of the concentrated economic value on Mount Scenery, the management of this area could be more sufficiently embedded within the institutional framework of local spatial policy.

The current zoning of the Saba marine park is concurrent with the spatial distribution of economic value. However, some reefs which add a significant value to the economy of Saba are located within the less protective zoning of ‘Multipurpose’. A light alteration to the zoning including this area in the ‘no take’ zoning could provide optimal protection of the coral reef and thus retain the economic value of the marine park. 

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