Scotland's National Marine Plan

This plan covers the management of both Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12 to 200 nautical miles).

Annex A: Ecosystem Goods and Services

Ecosystem Goods and Services

There is growing understanding and evidence of the value of the benefits (referred to as goods and services) that ecosystems [162] deliver to society.

Ecosystem goods and services, with examples from marine and coastal margin environments, include:

Provisioning services - goods obtained from ecosystems. This includes food from finfish and shellfish, seaweed fertiliser, wave and tidal energy, pharmaceutical products, and tourism revenue.

Supporting services - those which provide the basic infrastructure of life and upon which other ecosystems depend, e.g. primary production (capture of energy from the sun), soil and sediment formation and nutrient cycling.

Regulating services - these include pollution regulation through waste breakdown, detoxification and climate regulation.

Cultural services/non-material benefits - the non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems such as those derived from a setting. Examples include outdoor education, recreation, health, fitness and well-being, as well as historical and cultural heritage.

The National Ecosystem Assessment's [163] key findings for Scotland identify that provisioning services have a particularly high economic value, but that exploitation has had significant impacts on biodiversity with declining capabilities of all ecosystems to support sustained use. It also found that regulating services such as climate regulation through carbon sinks, and climate regulation of Scotland's land areas by the surrounding seas, are of significant importance to the economy.

While our knowledge of ecosystem processes, functioning, interactions and how these provide goods and services is still elementary, it is clear that activities which impact on them may affect the future level of goods and services which can be provided and exploited.


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