Mangroves are located at the land-sea interface and are therefore confronted with human settlement in the coastal areas and associated pressures and uses. This unique habitat provides important ecosystem services to coastal communities worldwide, but the global decline of their surface area and their degradation over the past decades has put coastal communities even more at risk from the effects of climate change. This paper aims to present the first ecosystem services valuation of the mangroves of the French overseas Territories. We provide the economic value of mangroves for coastal protection, carbon sequestration, water purification and fish biomass production. We coupled a geospatial analysis of mangrove's distribution with the characterisation of land artificialisation behind mangroves. Then we developed a vulnerability index based on multiple indicators of exposure to environmental and anthropogenic stressors, mangroves' sensitivity to pressures, and mangroves' adaptive capacity to adjust their production functions accordingly. We estimated the monetary value of regulation and support services provided by mangroves in French overseas territories to be on average EUR 1.6 billion annually, 60% of which is carbon sequestration, 28% coastal protection, 7% water purification and 6% fish biomass production. When considering mangroves services without the vulnerability adjustment, the total value for those services would reach EUR 2 billion per year. Although much of the spatio-temporal variability in mangrove functioning could not be considered given the spatial scale of our study, these results demonstrate the value and socio-economic importance of mangroves to face and adapt from the effects of coastal change, at local and national scales, but also highlight the loss of services due to their vulnerability. This paper emphasises on the value of ecosystem services provided by mangroves to face coastal change so that a service-based approach to conservation would plead for increased national investment into their protection.
Keywords: Carbon sequestration; Coastal protection; Fish biomass production; Mangroves; Vulnerability index; Water purification.
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