Hawaii Cultural Ecosystem Services

Case Study Resource
May 2020

Ecosystem services such as water purification, coastal protection, and food production are increasingly important considerations for coastal managers as they design management interventions to protect coastal habitat. A collaborative project led by the Rookery Bay and North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserves and Duke University's National Ecosystem Services Partnership created resources to help coastal managers streamline the integration of ecosystem services into their programs. These include guidance to develop Ecosystem Services Conceptual Models for estuarine habitat types, generalized Ecosystem Services Conceptual Models for oyster and mangrove habitat, tools to identify socio-economic metrics to monitor, assess and value coastal ecosystems, middle school lessons, public outreach materials, case studies in North Carolina, Florida and Hawaii, and an online ecosystem services toolkit for coastal managers.

About this resource

This case study discusses an example of an Ecosystem Services Conceptual Model for cultural services at He’eia National Estuarine Research Reserve in Hawaii. Cultural services are inherently difficult to quantify and are often not fully considered in decision-making. This model explicity incorporates specific cultural services at a site that is being restored as an agro-ecological landscape supporting sustainable, Indigenous agricultural and aquaculture.

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