Bahamas MPA Valuation
As a regional leader in marine conservation, The Bahamas are a key participant in the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI). CCI countries have made the commitment to conserve at least 20% of their nearshore marine environment in national marine protected area systems by 2020.
In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy’s Northern Caribbean Program, SFG interns Tyler Clavelle and Zach Jylkka performed an assessment of the economic value of the natural resources contained in two proposed national marine protected areas in Abaco, The Bahamas: East Abaco Creeks and Cross Harbour. If protected, East Abaco Creeks and Cross Harbour would increase the amount of protected area in Abaco by 47% and 48% respectively.
Through interviews with government officials, local non-profits, and community members, this study examined the contribution of the environmental goods and services generated by the proposed protected areas to the Bahamian people. The study employed benefit transfer in an ecosystem service-based approach focused mainly on the indirect values of key habitat functions. The results estimate the annual value of the ecosystem goods and services to range from $5.28 – 5.91 million for Cross Harbour and $6.27 – 6.60 million for East Abaco Creeks. With the threat of real estate development always a reality, the economic valuations included in this study provide policymakers with a more realistic appraisal of previously unvalued (or undervalued) habitat.
The findings of this project were detailed in a final report for The Nature Conservancy, with the aim of supporting and advancing existing national marine protected area proposals.
For more information on The Nature Conservancy's Program, see their Bahamas project site here
photo credit: Zach Jylkka