Defining marine biological value

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What is meant by ‘value’ is directly linked to the objectives behind the process of valuation (e.g. conservation, sustainable use, preservation of biodiversity, etc.).

  • Discussions on the value of marine biodiversity almost always refer to the socio-economic value of biodiversity (i.e. the so-called value of the goods and services provided by marine ecosystems, or the value of an area in terms of importance for human use), and attempts to attach a monetary value to the biodiversity in an area.[1][2][3]
  • Many approaches try to highlight only the most important sites in a region in order to designate priority sites for conservation. These priority sites are often chosen on the basis of the hotspot approach, which is used to select sites with high numbers of rare/endemic species or high species richness.[4][5]



  1. de Groot R.S., Wilson M.A., Boumans R.M.J. (2002). A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services. Ecol. Econ. 41, 393-408.
  2. Turpie J.K., Heydenrych B.J., Lamberth S.J. (2003). Economic value of terrestrial and marine biodiversity in the Cape Floristic Region: implications for defining effective and socially optimal conservation strategies. Biological Conservation 112, 233-251.
  3. Beaumont N.J., Austen M.C., Atkins J.P., Burdon D., Degraer S., Dentinho T.P., Derous S., Holm P., Horton T., van Ierland E., Marboe A.H., Starkey D.J., Townsend M., Zarzycki T. (2007). Identifcation, definition and quantification of goods and services provided by marine biodiversity: Implications for the ecosystem approach. Marine Pollution Bulletin 54, 253-265.
  4. Myers N., Mittermeier R.A., Mittermeier C.G., da Fonseca G.A.B., Kent J. (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403, 853 - 858.
  5. Breeze H. (2004). Review of criteria for selecting ecologically significant areas of the Scotian Shelf and Slope: a discussion paper. Ocean and Coastal Management Report 2004-04, prepared for Oceans and Coastal Management Division, Oceans and Habitat Branch, Maritimes Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography.