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The potential role of ecosystem service assessment in marine governance in the western Channel
VALMER Work Package 4 evidence base report.
Dodds W. and Friedrich L.A. (Eds.) (2015) VALMER project.
This report presents the results of this governance evaluation. Empirical evidence gathered included in-depth interviews with over fifty marine and coastal stakeholders and managers engaged at the sites to gather views on their experiences with ESA. Comparison of results from across the six case studies confirms expectations that ESA has potential to support marine and coastal management in a wide variety of marine governance contexts. Stakeholder support for its use in marine governance was also found across both UK and French study sites. The governance analysis has generated crucial insight and evidence into the specifics of how ESA can be used to positively affect the governance process andits outcomes. In doing so, the evaluation demonstrates there are many benefits to managers in incorporating ecosystem services considerations into existing and ongoing marine and coastal management activities such as planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. Furthermore, the findings clearly show that ESAs can in addition to being a versatile analytical tool for managers; ESAs can greatly assist and facilitate stakeholder engagement. From experience in VALMER, the co-production of ESAs through a partnership between marine managers, stakeholder and researchers with the necessary technical expertise appears to be an effective way of raising awareness of managers of the provision of marine ecosystem services within their marine and coastal area and increases the likelihood of the policy influence of ESAs. By using ESAs to understand the real ecological and socio-economic implications of area-based decisions such as trade-offs, this can increase both capacity and comfort levels towards using valuation and assessment frameworks to support marine management effort and in doing so, help facilitate good governance.