Mapping the Economic Value of Ecosystems on St Eustatius
This report will specifically focus on the spatial distribution of the ecosystem service values and will eventually visualize these values geographically in a total economic value map. The total economic value (TEV) of the ecosystems of St Eustatius is the sum of five 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; Fenkl et al. 2014; Van de Kerkhof et al. 2014). In this report we will merely visualize these values geographically and develop 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 St Eustatius.
When the spatial allocation of the economic value of ecosystems is compared to current spatial policies, the main conclusion is that existing boundaries for nature conservation appear to be on the right place. This however does not imply that policy is currently sufficient to conserve nature’s value since we have done no qualitative assessment of actual management. Moreover some very valuable areas of both terrestrial and marine environment are placed outside protective areas.
According to the spatial analyses of the values of St Eustatius’ ecosystems we have formulated the following three recommendations:
• Current protective zoning designations, both marine and terrestrial, are located in such a way that they protect the most valuable natural assets of St Eustatius. It is therefore vital that these zonings and regulations are strictly enforced to maintain the economic value of the ecosystems.
• One area along the slopes of the Quill Volcano could be reassessed for its zoning. According to our analysis this area encompasses some vital ecosystems and construction on this area could be further limited. We therefore recommend further research into this area and presumably a different zoning designation.
• The anchorage zone for NuStar could be reassessment reassessed since it is coinciding with a very valuable part of the coral reef. We recommend to investigate whether it would be possible to locate the anchorage zone further away from valuable coral.