Economic valuation of ecosystem services from coral reefs in the South Pacific: Taking stock of recent experience

Yann Laurans*, Nicolas Pascal, Thomas Binet, Luke Brander, Eric Clua, Gilbert David, Dominique Rojat, Andrew Seidl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The economic valuation of coral reefs ecosystem services is currently seen as a promising approach to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable management of coral ecosystems to policymakers and to provide useful information for improved decisions. Most coral reefs economic studies have been conducted in the United States, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, and only a few have covered the South Pacific region. In this region, coral reefs are essential assets for small island developing states as well as for developed countries. Accordingly, a series of ecosystem services valuations has been carried out recently in the South Pacific, to try and supply decision-makers with new information.Applying ecosystem services valuation to the specific ecological, social, economic and cultural contexts of the South Pacific is however not straightforward. This paper analyses how extant valuations address the various management challenges of coral reef regions in general and more specifically for the South Pacific. Bearing in mind that economic valuation has to match policy-making contexts, we emphasize a series of specific considerations when conducting and applying ecosystem services valuation in South Pacific ecological and social contexts. Finally, the paper examines the decision-making situations in which extant valuations took place. We conclude that, although ecosystem valuations have been effectively used as a means to raise awareness with respect to coral reef conservation, methodologies will have to be further developed, with multidisciplinary inputs, if they are to provide valuable inputs in local and technical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2013


  • Coral reefs
  • Decision-making
  • Ecosystem services
  • South Pacific
  • Valuation


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