Defining ecosystem services of Galveston Bay and corresponding appropriate valuation methods


Jan. 24, 2007


Ko, J-Y
Hastings, M
Merrell, W

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Galveston Bay Estuary Program


Quantifying diverse forms of economic goods and services provided by estuarine ecosystems provides valuable scientific and communication information for restoring and preserving the ecosystems. However, accurate economic quantification has challenges because of incomplete scientific understanding and the lack of a direct market. Therefore, the values of the different ecosystem services are usually estimated by applying indirect techniques. We have been developing a catalogue of ecosystem services and the appropriate corresponding valuation methods for Galveston Bay. We first reviewed weaknesses, strengths and premises of multiple market and non-market valuations methods for ecosystem services through literature review. Secondly, we defined seventeen different types of ecosystem services for Galveston bay, which was reviewed by experts and locals through a workshop on July 2006. Further, we developed a matching catalogue of ecosystem services and valuation methods from the workshop and conducted an external review in the fall of 2006. Also, we have been working on replacement cost analysis for flood mitigation, water quality and habitat provision, and on market value analysis for the Galveston Bay watershed. We will hold a second workshop to conduct external review of the research outputs, and methodologically discussions for specific ecosystem services, such as flood control, water quality, and to define priority areas for additional studies. The research outputs are available at the websites of HARC ( and TAMUG, Center for Texas Beaches and Shores (




economic value, ecosystems, flood mitigation, habitat provision, market value, water quality