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Keywords:

  • mangroves;
  • Mumbai;
  • ecosystem services;
  • benefits;
  • conservation;
  • regulation;
  • economics

Abstract

  1. Mumbai's mangroves have been significantly depleted through historical city development and continuing encroachment. These mangroves are important for production of a range of ecosystem services.
  2. Recent conservation-oriented orders in India's courts of justice recognize some of the values associated with mangroves, though wider benefits flow to diverse stakeholders through many additional ecosystem services provided by Mumbai's remaining fringe of mangrove systems.
  3. Valuation of ecosystem services on a semi-quantitative basis and, where possible, using value-transfer techniques from other relevant studies, demonstrates in indicative terms the magnitude of the benefits provided to Mumbai by its mangrove systems and connected habitats. Values could only be deduced approximately as most services lie outside the current market.
  4. Conservative valuation and assumptions about cumulative, non-quantified value emphasize the importance of mangroves to the built environment, people, and future security of Mumbai. This reinforces the need for conservation and restoration of the mangrove resource, particularly as a matter of ‘natural insurance’ in the light of a changing climate, sea-level rise and other emerging sustainability challenges.
  5. Current mangrove extent is at its most sparse on the seaward border of the city, arguably where greatest protection is required from storms, tsunamis, and other threats.
  6. Investment in mangrove restoration would add significant value to the city region. Novel economic tools such as ‘payments for ecosystem services’ (PES) may be used to protect or enhance the mangrove stands of Mumbai.

Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.