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From ecosystem services to benefits of the Baltic Sea - indicators and threats

image of From ecosystem services to benefits of the Baltic Sea - indicators and threats

Eutrophication, oil spills, and invasive species. Indicators and human benefits from ecosystem services of the Baltic Sea. These were the token of discussion at the ”Nordic Workshop on Economic Analysis of the State of the Baltic Sea, NorWEBS” in Helsinki on 19-20 November 2009, arranged by MTT Agrifood Research Finland. A joint researcher team of economists and marine experts assembled at the workshop to discuss the three main threats to the ecology of the Baltic Sea and find respective indicators of the state of Baltic Sea to be used in economic valuation. Economic valuation of the ecosystem services is required for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis on protective measures. Based on the presentations and discussions held in the NorWEBS-workshop we propose a framework for deriving the combined benefits from the Baltic Sea ecosystem services.

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Oil Accidents

The risk of oil spills in the Baltic Sea has grown with increased maritime traffic and oil transportation, especially in the Gulf of Finland. This development is projected to continue in the future (Hietala & Lampela 2007, HELCOM 2009b). Oil spills can, depending on the prevailing conditions, damage the functioning of multiple ecosystem services. These effects may then reduce public welfare, i.e. the benefits provided by these services. This section focuses on large-scale oil spills, although small spills in the Baltic Sea area are frequent and cause continual damages.

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