Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Estuarine systems are areas of immense ecological importance and provide numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits. The strong link between healthy habitats and these benefits requires incorporating the concerns of both nature and people into coastal management. An ecosystem services approach to coastal management and stewardship is defined by consideration of those benefits that flow from nature to people. As coastal managers increasingly attempt to fully characterize and communicate how natural systems affect the people who live near, work in, depend on, and care about the habitats they manage, ecosystem services considerations are progressively more important to address. Incorporating ecosystem services into management aims to result in an intact and resilient ecosystem that takes multiple beneficiary groups’ needs into consideration. This guide is targeted at coastal resource managers and practitioners who are actively thinking about how to more deliberately incorporate ecosystem services into their coastal decision-making processes.