Estimating the benefit value to society from the restoration of deep-sea ecosystems

Globally, direct and indirect human impacts have led to the widespread degradation of marine ecosystems. The resulting loss of habitat and marine biodiversity has led to increased impetus for marine ecosystem restoration at a policy level. Restoration success is judged on ecological outcomes but with limited resources, the magnitude of the societal benefits achieved is also an important consideration for policymakers. Perhaps owing to the remoteness of the deep-sea, the societal benefit of deep-sea ecosystems has been relatively understudied. With consideration of these issues, and as part of the EU Horizon 2020 MERCES (Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas) Project, this research estimated the benefit value to society of the restoration of the deep-water Dohrn canyon ecosystem in the Bay of Naples. By examining the Italian population’s willingness to pay for restoration of the Dohrn Canyon, the study demonstrates how the potential non-market benefit value of a deep-sea ecosystem restoration project might be assessed.

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