Agreement on first-order criteria during December 2006 workshop on marine biological valuation?
This article provides an introduction to the dicussions on the development of criteria to assess biological value in the marine environment. It is derived from discussions held during a workshop on marine biological valuation, held from 6 to 8 December 2006 at Ghent (Belgium). The workshop was a joint venture of the EU CA ENCORA (http://www.encora.org) and the EU NoE MARBEF (http://www.marbef.org). Both Theme 7 within ENCORA and Theme 3 within MARBEF deal with marine/coastal biological valuation and the workshop aimed to reach a consensus on this topic.
Is 'rarity' a suitable first-order valuation criterion?
- All groups agree that ‘rarity’ should be kept as a first-order criterion.
- Clear definitions are needed!
- Most groups would only assess rarity at the physical/habitat level and not on the genetic or species level.
- The definition of 'rarity' can be kept as long as it is mentioned that it is a relative measure.
- Rarity is assessed for each subzone relative to the others. It is not an absolute measure.
- Accidental recordings/vagrants should not be considered under ‘rarity’ and this should be made clear in the description of the protocol.
Is 'aggregation' a suitable first-order valuation criterion?
- Most groups thought that ‘aggregation’ and ‘fitness consequences’ are linked to each other in many cases and suggest merging them into one criterion, called 'aggregation-fitness consequences'
- ‘Aggregation’ and ‘fitness consequences’ should be combined EITHER/OR because they do not always fully overlap.
Is 'fitness consequences' a suitable first-order valuation criterion?
- See ‘aggregation’.
- Difficult to find practical algorithms to assess this.
Are there any first-order criteria lacking in the concept?
- 'Resilience' was discussed as a possible candidate.
- All groups agreed not to include it in the concept as a valuation criterion as it is too closely linked to human impact.
- However, certain habitats are known to be more resilient to natural impacts than others and could get a higher value for that. But such kind of resilience is already treated within the ‘goods & services’ valuation as defined by MARBEF theme 3 and should therefore not be treated here. The future decision support system that will be built around the socio-economic and biological valuation should integrate both values.
- All participants agreed that no additional criteria should be added to the list of first-order criteria.
These paragraphs reflect the main discussion outcomes of the ENCORA Theme 7-MARBEF Theme 3 workshop on marine biological valuation (6-8 December 2006, Gent, Belgium). (http://www.marbef.org/documents/Theme3/GhentWS/report.pdf)