This paper examines the potential relationships between the ecosystem services provided by the coastal and marine environment and the designation of marine protected areas. The hypothesis is that relationships exist between the provision of ecosystem services and the features protected by marine protected areas. It is considered that protection will maintain these features in good ecological condition and in some cases will restore ecological functioning with positive effects on the delivery of ecosystem services, as pressures upon the protected features are reduced. As the number of marine protected area designations grows, system-wide effects to communities from improvements in delivery of a range of ecosystem services may be realised. This paper provides a comparative analysis of the jurisdictional marine protected area policies proposed by the English, Welsh and Scottish Governments. It presents structured assessment matrices developed from the literature and expert opinion, of ecosystem service provision by marine protected habitats and species and applies the findings to a range of existing UK marine protected areas to demonstrate its relevance. The approach and case study findings are discussed within the wider context of marine ecosystem services and marine protected area management.
- ECOSYSTEM SERVICES