Compensatory Mitigation in Marine Ecosystems: Which Indicators for Assessing the "No Net Loss" Goal of Ecosystem Services and Ecological Functions?
Ecological compensation, Equivalency, Indicators
Recent years have seen increasing interest in the concepts of compensation and ecosystem services. Regulation systems in the United States dealing with environmental protection (Superfund Act, Oil Pollution Act, National Environment Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, etc.) require those responsible for damage to ecosystem services to compensate for it “physically” and restore these services for the benefit of the entire population. This article, using simple indicators of compensation identified in the literature, attempts to analyze what types of ecological compensation are adopted, how performance is assessed, how standards on ecological equivalencies are adopted, and what are the costs of this compensation. To perform this analysis, compensatory measures carried out during the last ten years in the case of coastal and marine ecosystems in Florida have been addressed. The results show that: analysis criteria for the equivalencies between ecosystem services lost due to damage and ecosystem services gained due to compensatory measures are questionable; most compensation monitoring is for a relatively brief period of time and the data obtained during this period may be insufficient for assessing the net effect of the compensatory measure; the weaknesses regarding criteria for the equivalencies and the uncertainty about the relevant time-scale can be counter-balanced by increasing the area of compensation, a problematic solution at best.
Harold Levrel, Sylvain Pioch, and Richard E. Spieler. 2012. Compensatory Mitigation in Marine Ecosystems: Which Indicators for Assessing the "No Net Loss" Goal of Ecosystem Services and Ecological Functions? .Marine Policy , (6) : 1202 -1210. http://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/145.