Valuation of ecosystem services provided by coastal wetlands in northwest Mexico

Vera Camacho-Valdez, Arturo Ruiz-Luna, Andrea Ghermandi, Paulo A.L.D. Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coastal wetlands are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, supporting diverse natural functions and providing important services to human societies. In this context, strategies have recently been developed to maintain these coastal wetlands in a sustainable way, however, wetlands are under pressure, particularly due to land use changes, because they have traditionally been treated as areas of low economic value or even as risky areas for human health. As a result, wetlands have suffered some loss and substantial habitat alteration, which are associated with high social costs. Thus, inventories are required to identify these environments and define and value their services to obtain appropriate information relevant to conservation strategies. This research introduces a spatial component for classifying wetland types and further evaluation of their ecosystem services (ES), assessing their current distribution and extent using standardized remote sensing techniques for wetland mapping. A value transfer approach was performed to generate baseline estimates of the ecosystem services provided by wetlands, validating it through a meta-analysis of a database of wetland estimates, with northwest Mexico wetlands as case study. We found that saltmarshes were the most important wetland in terms of covered area and also that socio-economic variables, such as income, are important in explaining wetland values. The results show that in 2003, a value of 1 billion USD per year was delivered to the local citizens by the surrounding wetlands provided as services and benefits. In a spatially explicit manner, this approach highlights the contribution made by wetlands to the well-being of communities. We argue that in the future design of management plans, the conservation of these environments should be a priority, regarding both, ecologically and economically views.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Vera Camacho is supported by a fellowship grant from the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACyT) . We would like to thank Eva M. Tello (Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans, A.C.) and Rafael Hernandez (CIAD, A.C.) for their valuable support. We also thank the reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which contributed to improve the quality of this publication.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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