Discussion Paper

Habitat Benefit Assessment and Decisionmaking: A Report to the National Marine Fisheries Service

Sep 27, 2004 | James W. Boyd, James N. Sanchirico, Leonard A. Shabman


Habitats and the services they provide are part of our nation’s portfolio of natural capital assets.As for many components of this portfolio, it is difficult to assess the value of their services, and thiscomplicates regulators’ investment decisions, especially when the alternative use is measurable. Theprincipal objective of this report is to suggest possible strategies for the National Marine Fisheries Service(NMFS) as it applies economic analyses and arguments in support of the agency’s trustee responsibilities.Many approaches are possible, and as we discuss, the “right” strategy will depend on the questions asked,the resources available, and the agency’s role in the consultation process. We discuss in detailbioeconomic modeling and ecosystem indicator approaches to habitat value assessment. Although theapproaches are discussed independently, multiple tools could be used simultaneously across differentregions or within the same region on different aspects of one consultation.