Ecosystem services

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Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
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Pepperall, Neree
Shalev, Amit
Snodgrass, Joe

Antarctic ecosystem services have begun to be assessed formally only in recent years and they have not been quantified or otherwise calculated in a comprehensive and consistent manner. This report summarises some of what has been done in this regard, identifying tools and methods used to calculate these ecosystem services and examining approaches used for valuation as well as the explicit and implicit valuations driven by the Antarctic Treaty System. The report discusses some implications of valuation and their potential ramifications on utilisation and governance, taking the point that ecosystem services valuation should not be approached purely with market-driven methods, and that where those approaches are used, they must capture indirect costs in addition to direct costs and benefits from the get-go. The risks of doing otherwise include not just unbalanced utilisation but the potential destabilisation of the Antarctic Treaty System itself. As such, communication approaches and materials, whether originating from national Antarctic programs and researchers and aimed at the public or at governance bodies, or whether originating from governance bodies and aimed at their greater stakeholders and governments, should reflect and articulate valuation methods that consider many interdependent considerations. Further, they should shape their communications with an eye toward multidisciplinary audiences and thus avoid narrow, domain-specific perspectives.

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