Important reports related to ecosystem services.


Have Sharks Become the Golden Goose for Coast Countries? Shark Research Newsletter, Spring 2013, Volume 22:1, p. 4-5.

This article lists values and bibliographic information regarding non-consumptive use values of mantas and sharks for the following locations: the Maldives, Western Australia, Thailand, South Africa, Belize, Donsol, the Seychelles, the Bahamas, the Canary Islands, Fiji, Yap and Palau, as well as global values.


Millenium Ecosystem Assessment

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.


TEEB Reports

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, or TEEB, is an initiative launched by Germany, the European Commission, and UNEP. Its aim is to provide a better understanding of the economic value of ecosystem services while providing tools for policy makers. A variety of reports can be found on their website.


White House Report: Sustaining Environmental Capital

The July 2011 "Report to the President - Sustaining Environmental Capital:Protecting Society and the Economy" outlines recommendations by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The Council emphasizes the importance of addressing both environmental and economic dimensions of well-being in policy.


Payments in Ecosystem Services: Getting Started in Marine and Coastal Ecosystems


Published in February 2010 by Forest Trends and The Katoomba Group this report gives readers a solid understanding of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and how PES deals work in the marine environment.



Tools to help analyze and map ecosystem services data.


GeoIQ is a data sharing, visualization, and analysis platform run by UNEP’s Grid-Arendal center.  Upload data or find data on a variety of topics including information on demographics, real estate, and environmental concerns from around the world. Information can be mapped with various analysis tools offered.


Marine InVEST

InVEST –or Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services & Tradeoffs – is a suite of tools used for mapping and valuing nature’s goods and services. Includes models for coastal and marine ecosystem services.

WRI’s Valuation Methods and Tools

 WRI’s valuation methods and tools help policymakers, civil society or other interested parties to assess the value to their economies of goods and services provided by coral reefs and to aid in setting coastal management policies. WRI offers tools for tourism/recreation, fisheries, and MPAs. These tools have previously been applied to countries in the Caribbean.


Coastal Capital: Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean

 WRI’s guidebook details the steps in conducting a coastal ecosystem valuation to inform decision making in the Caribbean. It guides valuation practitioners—both economists and non-economists—through the three phases of a valuation effort (scoping, analysis and outreach), with an emphasis on stakeholder engagement in all phases.



Websites, forums, and online sites to meet other professionals interested in discussing ecosystem services.

The Ecosystem Commons is a networking tool and collaborative workspace for scientists, policy makers, resource managers and anyone else interested in ecosystem services. Interested users can sign in for free to gain access to discussion groups, forums, as well as valuable tools and resources. Find the MESP discussion group at


Have a resource you'd like to contribute? Email us at

Podcast Transcripts

 You Say Conservation is Good For People: Well Prove It


Websites, forums, and online sites to meet other professionals interested in discussing ecosystem services.


Tools to help analyze and map ecosystem services data.


<p >Important reports on ecosystem services.

Glossary and Definitions

<p >Glossaries for terms related to ecosystem services and their valuation.

Organizations and More

<p >Find organizations and websites related to ecosystem services and their valuation.

The Databases

The MESP works with the following databases to ease access to marine ecosystem services valuation data.

The Ecosystem Services Valuation Database has been developed by FSD and the Environmental Systems Analysis group of Wageningen University. The aims of the ESVD are to compile, share and review data on economic valuation studies of ecosystem services and to support education on sustainable land management.The ESVD has originated from the assessment of estimates of values of ecosystem services for the TEEB research project ( in 2010 and is based on earlier databases like the Costanza et al (1997) paper, the COPI database and NVF’s case study database (a comprehensive literature database of ecosystem management case studies). Since then, the database structure has been further developed and more data has been added.The ESVD is a relational database and links, among others, economic values of ecosystem services, ecological information, the case study location and the original publication. For most of these variables, categories were used to enter the data from case studies in the database to enable systematic and reproducible analysis. For example, the classification of ecosystem services is based on the TEEB D0 Chapter 1 (De Groot et al. 2010b). The economic variables presented in this database are among others: the monetary value, the original units, the value type (i.e. annual value, stock value, PV, NPV); the year of estimation, the original currency of the estimate, the validation year and other specific information. In addition the ESVD also includes variables to describe the non-economic information of the valuation study. It consists of different variables including information regarding the service area, location, biome, ecosystem good.In order to stimulate further development, economical analyses and use for educational purposes FSD intends to publish an online and interactive version of the ESVD in 2011.More information can be found on the Database page of the Ecosystem Service Partnership website:

The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Services Valuation Database (GecoServ) is a searchable database thatincludes studies valuing ecosystem services (ES). GecoServ’s two main goals are to distribute and share information about ecosystem services valuation studies relevant to Gulf of Mexico region habitats and to identify current gaps in the primary valuation literature in order to encourage work that will fill those gaps.The selection criteria for the included studies are: (1) a study has to provide a monetary value for anES and (2) the study has to focus on habitats relevant to the Gulf of Mexico region which includes: freshwater and saltwater wetlands, beach, dunes, seagrass, coral reefs, oyster reefs, and marine/open water. These studies are from the Gulf and around the world.When using GecoServ, users can search by ecosystem (habitats or geoenvironments), ecosystem services, valuation method, country, or state if within the United States. The results show monetary values standardized in 2008 US dollars, and if applicable, in per hectare per year units. The goal for standardizing values is to allow users to compare them among different studies.Support to build the database was provided by the Harte Research Institute, NOAA’s Gulf Coast Services Center and NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team, and EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program. This is a ‘living’ database and suggestions are welcome for inclusion of studies and/or on how to improve the website. Email us: or

  • NOAA’s Coral Reef Valuation Database

In 2001, NOAA's National Ocean Service, including the Special Projects Office, Damage Assessment Center, and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, proposed the development of a Coral Reef Value Literature Review under NOAA’s Coral Reef Initiative. The review found approximately 50 studies. The literature review provides an annotated bibliography of these studies, along with a database containing the estimated values in support of benefits transfer applications.The database contains a longer abstract than the typical annotated bibliography.  All the results of each report are included along with descriptions of methodologies used, including sampling methods if surveys were used and sample sizes.  The approach had the intent of providing all the information someone would need to assess whether the information was appropriate for use in a benefits transfer without having to access the full report.Special Projects provided the technical support for the on-line databases, while economists in the Coastal and Ocean Resource Economics Program in Special Projects along with economists in the Damage Assessment Center reviewed the studies and wrote the abstracts and inputted the information in the database. The Coastal and Ocean Resource Economics Program no longer exists and the technical support of the on-line database no longer exists.  In addition, two of the three economists in the Damage Assessment Center that worked on the literature review/database have now left NOAA.  So the on-line database no longer exists on NOAA servers and there is no NOAA capability to update the database.Bob Leeworthy, formerly Leader of the Coastal and Ocean Resource Economics Program and overall leader of the Coral Valuation On-line database is now the Chief Economist for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and serves on the steering committee for Marine Ecosystems Services Partnership (MESP).  Bob can be contacted for any questions on the original database at

The Partners

The MESP is possible with the help of its many working and managing partners.

Working Partners:

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is a partnership among governments, international organizations, and non-government organizations. It strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems by implementing Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and other relevant international conventions and agreements. The MESP owes its thanks to ICRI for initiating its database through ICRI's Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Valuation.



NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a non-profit, global, environmental policy research institute, which goes beyond research to put ideas into action. WRI’s main programs work on aspects of global climate change, sustainable markets, ecosystem protection, and environmentally responsible governance. Our work on coral reefs includes the Reefs at Risk series (modeling local and global threats to reefs), and our Coastal Capital series, which has implemented economic valuation of coral reef goods and services in five countries in the Caribbean.


The Marine Assessment and Decision Support (MADS) Programme at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) provides scientific information to guide decisions impacting on the marine and coastal environment. We achieve this by facilitating the collaborative creation and improvement of critical marine and coastal datasets, including those associated with marine ecosystem services, and enabling their use in relevant environmental and socio-economic assessments and tools.




Established in 1999, the National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP) provides a full range of the most current economic and socio-economic information available on changes and trends along the U.S. coast and in coastal waters. The program is funded by federal, state, university, and private grants and contracts.


The Ecosystem Commons is a networking tool and collaborative workspace for a broad-based community of practice on ecosystem services to organize, clarify, and advance the rapidly evolving arena of ecosystem services.  Individuals interested in linking ecosystem services science, practice, and policy to improve decision making and foster investment in conservation are encouraged to join and participate in this interactive community. This Community of Practice is a collaborative network of organizations and agencies that are actively involved in ecosystem services science and the development of market-based strategies and tools aimed at the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems like forests, farms, wetlands, coastal habitats, and other open space.

National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP)

The National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP) engages individuals and organizations at the public and private level to enhance collaboration within the ecosystem services community. NESP also works to strengthen coordination of policy and market implementation and research at the national level. As of December 2010 the partnership is housed at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and is guided by a multi-stakeholder steering group. NESP’s current focus is in two project areas. First, collecting examples of ecosystem services projects and programs in the United States. Second, exploring the potential for national coordination of indicators, metrics, and standards for ecosystem service quantification and crediting

The Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) Program aims to protect crucial marine ecosystem services by harnessing markets and private sector investment, in order to complement conventional coastal and marine management and safeguard human well-being. MARES targets the following four main objectives in promoting its overall goal of protecting marine ecosystem services:

  1. developing a solid foundation of understanding of marine ecosystem services and their economic value;
  2. elaborating best practices for the conservation of those services;
  3. communicating information about ecosystem services and the potential to effectively and efficiently protect them, in order to raise awareness and generate political will; and
  4. helping to build a community of practice for marine payment of ecosystem services (PES) and other innovative financing mechanisms.

In meeting these objectives, MARES uses analyses, assessments, pilot projects, and other tools to derive lessons learned from PES initiatives and to build capacity for marine ecosystem services protection. The MARES Initiative presents a new focus for Forest Trends, building on the core work done by the organization in terrestrial ecosystems and conventional markets. It works with other Forest Trends programs and with the Katoomba Group and Ecosystem Marketplace to adapt their models in developing the conceptual underpinnings for marine PES markets and biodiversity offsets and to expand the global network of PES practitioners and experts to include the marine community.


The IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network - a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland.

 Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific


The Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific (CRISP) aims to develop a vision for the future of coral reefs and the communities that depend on them and to introduce strategies and projects to conserve their biodiversity, while developing the economic and environmental services that they provide both locally and globally.


Historically deep-sea habitats were examined in isolation but it has become increasingly apparent that we must consider the largest biome on Earth in its entirety. The aim of the International Network for Scientific Investigations of Deep-Sea Ecosystems (INDEEP) is to develop and synthesise our understanding of deep-sea global biodiversity and functioning and provide a framework to bridge the gap between scientific results and society to aid in the formation of sustainable management strategies.


GRID-Arendal is a centre collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), supporting informed decision making and awareness-raising. Our staff consists of a diverse team of international professionals. Through a dynamic portfolio of projects, we partner with various organizations to facilitate free access to and exchange of information in support of decision making and to promote a sustainable future.

Data Partners:

At Conservation International (CI), we are 900+ individuals in more than 25 global offices, united in our belief that every person on Earth deserves a healthy environment and the fundamental benefits that nature provides.We are committed to helping societies adopt a more sustainable approach to development—one that considers and values nature at every turn. Together, we will help reverse the unprecedented drawdown of Earth's natural resources, protecting nature and its gifts—a stable climate, fresh water, healthy oceans and reliable food—to ensure a better life for everyone, everywhere.

Please explore to find out more about the science-to-action approach and the scientific findings that we share through continuing communication with policy makers, resource managers, and other decision-makers at local to global levels to facilitate successful, science-based conservation.

The Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies is an endowed research component of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi dedicated to advancing the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico. HRI’s goal is to be a research center of excellence providing international leadership in generating and disseminating knowledge about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and its critical role in the economies of the North American region.


The Harte Model is based upon the unique structure and mission of the Harte Institute. The institute is built around the synergy created by the focus of the six endowed chairs: coastal and marine geospatial sciences; ecosystems and modeling; biodiversity and conservation; ocean health; marine policy and law; and, socio-economics. It is the interdisciplinary collaboration between the chairs to address ecosystem scale problems and the understanding that people and the environment are inevitably linked in their solution that makes HRI unique in the community of marine science institutes.


The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is a not-for-profit research & consultancy foundation which aims to support the conservation and sustainable use of natural ecosystems by building knowledge and stimulating awareness of the many ways in which people benefit from natural ecosystems. FSD's scientific assessments and on-going research are utilized by a range of organizations and institutions as input into decision-making that strives for outcomes based on ecological integrity, social well-being and economic welfare.



Besides our research and educational work, FSD provides institutional support to a number of on-going activities including the Ecosystem Services Partnership (, the Nature Valuation & Financing Network, the Natuurkalender (Nature’s Calendar),COST725 projects and the EarthCollective network (see for more details).


As a truly interdisciplinary marine science centre, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) is increasing understanding of how marine ecosystems function, how the ocean contributes to a thriving society and how this vital resource can be protected for future generations.



The Joint Research Centre is the scientific and technical arm of the European Commission. It is providing the scientific advice and technical know-how to support a wide range of EU policies. Its status as a Commission service, which guarantees independence from private or national interests, is crucial for pursuing its mission: "As the Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to provide EU policies with independent, evidence-based scientific and technical support throughout the whole policy cycle.

Working in close cooperation with policy Directorates-General, the JRC addresses key societal challenges while stimulating innovation through developing new methods, tools and standards, and sharing its know-how with the Member States, the scientific community and international partners. 



The JRC has seven scientific institutes, located at five different sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with a wide range of laboratories and unique research facilities. Through numerous collaborations, access to many facilities is granted to scientists from partner organizations.

The CLME Project assists participating countries from the Wider Caribbean Region to improve the management of their shared Living Marine Resources through an Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) approach. Their Information Management System & Regional Ecosystem Monitoring Programme provides  references to ecosystem valuation studies in the Caribbean. The CLME is a project of:



Managing Partners:



Guided by its working partners, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University manages  the  effort to build web-based tools and data portal, increase coordination between partners, and promote web-based networks of data users.

Duke University's Marine Geospatial Ecology Laboratory serves as the lead technical partner within the partnership. Using expertise honed in building map-based tools for many scientific consortiums, MGEL is inetegrating the databases archives to build a spatial data explorer and data.



About Us

Learn more about the MESP, its mission, and vision.

The Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (MESP) was proposed in early 2010 as an effort to create a virtual center for information and communication on the human uses of marine ecosystem services around the world. Responding to the growing library of economic valuation data, the Partnership strives to provide up-to-date and easily accessible data for the use of policy makers, environmental managers, researchers, and marine ecosystem stakeholders. In its first iteration, the MESP database held over 900 entries of economic valuation data representing over 2000 values.  Not intended to replace other databases, the Partnership strives to be a community of practice through which data users and managers can work collectively to better integrate ecosystem services data with marine policy needs. This collaboration is aided with the use of tools such as the valuation mapper – a dynamic map allowing users to burrow down through different types of data by inputting spatial and thematic queries.

Mission Statement

To help society identify and sustainably manage the globe’s ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of people and society by understanding the value of these ecosystems and the services they produce.

Vision Statement

MESP will improve the estimation, dissemination, and use by decision makers of social and natural science data about marine ecosystem services by

  • easing access to ecosystem valuations by creating a centralized and submission-enabled data repository that is spatially explicit.
  • improving communication between valuation researchers and policy makers.
  • utilizing web-based tools to better target areas where new research is needed
  • providing contextual and up-to-date perspectives for understanding valuation data in relation to environmental management decisions.



A Chat with TEEB Coordinator Salman Hussain, January, 2017. Find out what's in store for TEEB as it prepares to enter its second decade. Hosted by Yannick Beaudoin, Chief Scientist of GRID-Arendal. 

 Dr. Salman Hussain is the Coordinator of The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (“TEEB”). Based in Geneva, Switzerland, at the International Environment House, the TEEB office is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the Economics and Trade Branch (ETB) of the Economy Division. Salman was a contributing author to the TEEB reports launched in 2010 and has also coordinated the quantitative assessment for TEEB, a global scale study integrating environmental valuation with Geographic Information System mapping. 

Previously Salman was with Scotland’s Rural College, where he directed the University of Edinburgh’s Masters program in Ecological Economics and headed a team focusing on marine ecosystem economics. In addition to his teaching and administrative duties, he lead the economics work of a European Commission project that married ecosystem service valuation with the bio-physical modeling of the impacts of different use and conservation policy options. 


Below the Surface with NOAA's Margaret Davidson, April, 2016. LP discusses coastal ecosystem services with the legendary Margaret Davidson.

You Say Conservation is Good for People: Well, Prove It, April, 2015. This podcast is from Pendleton's keynote speech to the joint French/UK marine ecosystem services meeting in March 2015. He argues that we are spending too much time modelling the hypothetical benefits of marine conservation and not enough time and effort collecting real data that will CONVINCE people that they DO benefit from better marine management. 

Adapted from the VALMER/PANACHE Keynote, March 17, 2015 Torquay. 


A "Sustainability Dashboard" for the Seafood Industry, Tuesday, November 15, 2016, Featuring Katherine Short, F.L.O.W. & Terra Moana Ltd (New Zealand)

Filling the socio-cultural evidence gap: An approach for including socio-cultural values in marine planning, Tuesday, October 18, 2016, Featuring Kira Gee, Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht Center for Matierals and Coastal Research (Germany)

The Wealth of Ecosystems: Measuring Natural Capital Asset Prices, Thursday, September 8, 2016, Featuring Eli Fenichel, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Blue Solutions for Ecosystem Services - Finding What's Worked, and Helping to Do It Again, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, Featuring Christian Neumann of GRID-Arendal

Incorporating Ecosystem Services Into Federal Decision Making: Perspectives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Thursday, April 28, 2016, Featuring NOAA Economists: Doug Lipton, Tracy Rouleau and Peter Wiley 




openchurch_logo dosi     MESPlogo     NI_logo      PastedGraphic-2 


 In 1997, Robert Costanza and colleagues set out to do something audacious[1]. They estimated the value of nature. At the time, the general public did not pay much attention to the economic value of the living world. READ MORE...


Marine scientists and conservation professionals are organizing to make “oceans” a priority at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) talks in Paris this December. Oceans, and the ecosystems they support, play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The Climate Meeting in Paris provides an opportunity to highlight the connections between oceans and climate—good and bad. But these meetings are the result of complicated and bureaucratic international processes and have all the constraints associated with major international agreements. 

LP sat down with Dorothée Herr, Oceans and Climate Change Manager at the IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme, to discuss what we might expect at COP21 on the topic of oceans. READ MORE...   


By Christian Neumann, Linwood Pendleton, Marianne Kettunen, Tundi Agardy

The value of ecosystems and the associated services they provide is receiving growing attention both in the public and decision-making arena. The language of Ecosystem Services essentially translates the complexity of ecological processes and functions into descriptors that define the socio-economic-ecological link. To overcome the challenge of scientific and non-scientific communities having to find a common language, it is worth keeping a few key aspects in mind.  READ MORE...

BELOW THE SURFACE: Marine Ecosystem Services: How Is That Valuation Thing Treating You?

By Linwood Pendleton

Well it finally happened ... marine ecosystem services have become trendy and that has some peoples' knickers in a twist.  READ MORE...