Quantifying the use and availability of marine ecosystem services for humans
The seas provide a wealth of ecosystem services that support the economy and human well-being, including food provision, climate regulation, coastal protection from storms, water purification and recreational activities. To date, sustainable management of these services has been hampered by the fact they are difficult to quantify. In a new approach to assessing the use and supply of marine ecosystem services, the European Commission JRC study shows how biophysical modelling can be used to evaluate marine ecosystem services, which could fill information gaps and benefit the EU's Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Indicators that quantify capacity, flow and demand can help analyse the sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystem services. Based on research in the Mediterranean, the study calls for the integration and clear identification of ecosystem services assessments in the current revision of the EU's Marine Strategy Framework Directive. They also recommend that the effect of human activities and pressures on ecosystem services be better analysed and modelled.