Estuarine systems are areas of immense ecological importance and provide numerous
social, economic, and environmental benefits. The strong link between healthy habitats
and these benefits requires incorporating the concerns of both nature and people into
coastal management. An ecosystem services approach to coastal management and stewardship
is defined by consideration of those benefits that flow from nature to people. As
coastal managers increasingly attempt to fully characterize and communicate how natural
systems affect the people who live near, work in, depend on, and care about the habitats
they manage, ecosystem services considerations are progressively more important to
address. Incorporating ecosystem services into management aims to result in an intact
and resilient ecosystem that takes multiple beneficiary groups’ needs into consideration.
This guide is targeted at coastal resource managers and practitioners who are actively
thinking about how to more deliberately incorporate ecosystem services into their
coastal decision-making processes.
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