1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96848 info@pacificrisa.org 808.944.7111

Freshwater Ecosystem Valuation

Local and regional governments need to prepare for long-term impacts of climate change, and want to choose adaptation options based on technical and socio-economic considerations. This collaboration between UH-NREM (Natural Resources and Environmental Management) and Pacific RISA focuses on the socio-economics of Maui’s natural resources and ecosystem services. Functioning ecosystems across Maui provide important services that benefit humans in myriad ways. In West Maui (Fig. 1), for example, conservation land in the mountains provides habitats for native species and groundwater aquifers, well-managed agricultural land retains sediment, and coral reefs provide food and opportunities for recreation. Shifting ecological dynamics will alter the ability of the system to deliver these services.

The West Maui mountains and adjacent agricultural and urban lands.

Researchers with the University of Hawaii NREM program will assess and translate technical climate information and analysis into socio-economic terms by evaluating vulnerabilities and related impacts on freshwater resources and ecosystem services. This will help Maui communities and decision makers plan for a future with uncertain climate impacts by attaching value to different adaptation outcomes and business-as-usual trajectories. The research will suggest which adaptation options will deliver the most benefit under alternative climate futures.

To model and evaluate the impacts of climate change and adaptation, the research team will use novel ecological-economic modeling and environmental valuation. The first step of the project will be to characterize adaptation and policy options that should be assessed, as well as relevant outcome metrics. The Maui community will be consulted extensively in this step to ensure the relevance of the choices. Next, an ecological-economic model will be developed to use climate change, policy, and adaptation scenarios to predict select outcomes. Analysis will be done of the various scenarios, and results will be reported back to the community and its decision-makers. These policy options and outcomes, linked to ecological-economic models, will be directly relevant to the needs of the community with respect to adaptation options in a changing climate.


Basics of ecosystem services:

Brauman, Kate A., et al. “The nature and value of ecosystem services: an overview highlighting hydrologic services.” Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 32 (2007): 67-98.

Haines-Young, Roy, and Marion Potschin. “The links between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being.” Ecosystem Ecology: a new synthesis (2010): 110-139.

(from this book: Raffaelli, David G., and Christopher LJ Frid, eds. Ecosystem ecology: a new synthesis. Cambridge University Press, 2010.)

Economics of ecosystem services:

Bateman, Ian J., et al. “Economic analysis for ecosystem service assessments.” Environmental and Resource Economics 48.2 (2011): 177-218.

Boyd, James, and Spencer Banzhaf. “What are ecosystem services? The need for standardized environmental accounting units.” Ecological Economics 63.2 (2007): 616-626.

Fisher, Brendan, and R. Kerry Turner. “Ecosystem services: classification for valuation.” Biological conservation 141.5 (2008): 1167-1169.

De Groot, Rudolf S., Matthew A. Wilson, and Roelof MJ Boumans. “A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services.” Ecological economics 41.3 (2002): 393-408.

Costs of ecosystem service decline:

Barbier, Edward B., et al. “The value of estuarine and coastal ecosystem services.” Ecological monographs 81.2 (2011): 169-193.

How and why ecosystem service valuation should be included in planning:

Bateman, Ian J., et al. “Bringing ecosystem services into economic decision-making: land use in the United Kingdom.” science 341.6141 (2013): 45-50.

De Groot, Rudolf S., et al. “Challenges in integrating the concept of ecosystem services and values in landscape planning, management and decision making.” Ecological complexity 7.3 (2010): 260-272.

Fezzi, Carlo, et al. “Valuing provisioning ecosystem services in agriculture: the impact of climate change on food production in the United Kingdom.”Environmental and Resource Economics 57.2 (2014): 197-214.

Nelson, Erik, et al. “Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales.”Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7.1 (2009): 4-11.


Lead Researchers

Kirsten Oleson, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management , University of Hawai’i | 808-956-8864

Carlo Fezzi, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawai‘i | 808-956-8864