GecoView — Ecosystem Services Provided by Gulf of Mexico Habitats: Tools, Valuation, and Application

Principal Investigator
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GecoView: A Story Map about the benefits of the Gulf of Mexico’s coastal habitats.

GecoView, an online tool sharing the values of different ecosystem services provided by Gulf of Mexico salt marsh, mangroves and oyster reefs, was developed as part of the project “Ecosystem Services Provided by Gulf of Mexico Habitats: Tools, Valuation, and Application." Its goal is to aid decision-makers by providing dollar values for coastal habitats when comparing alternative management scenarios. The ecosystem services valued were passive use services (e.g. aesthetics, water quality, existence), recreation, storm protection, carbon sequestration, food, and raw materials.

GecoView builds on HRI’s GecoServ.org. GecoServ is an online database distribute and share information about ecosystem service valuation studies relevant to the Gulf of Mexico region and to identify current gaps in related literature. These two tools are valuable resources in understanding how ecosystem services provide valuable products and services to Gulf coastal communities.

There is currently a dearth of primary valuation studies of ecosystems services (ES) provided by important Gulf of Mexico habitats. Therefore, it is difficult to include these important contributions to human well-being in any decision making process related to the management of our coastal and marine resources. This project addresses the need for ES identification, valuation, and application in the Gulf of Mexico.

Goals: 

  1. Isolate the biophysical and ecological functions of target habitats (marsh, mangrove, and oyster reefs) as they relate to provisioning of ES
  2. Identify ES that are both salient to the public and easily measured
  3. Quantify preferences of identified ES provided by the target habitats in monetary terms
  4. Develop the ES valuation module of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Spatial Viewer
  5. Implement education and outreach activities and materials
  6. Provide decision support tools to end users.