By 2050, as the planet’s population will swell toward 9 billion, demand for food, water and energy will strain Earth’s natural systems, especially our ocean and coastal ecosystems. To ensure these important systems keep pace with human needs, we must harness the scientific knowledge, innovations, tools and applications of marine conservation, restoration and management.
Ocean ecosystems are as varied as they are valuable. Seagrass meadows are veritable fish factories and carbon stores. Snorkeling and diving generate billions in tourist dollars. Oyster reefs support important fisheries, filter pollutants and reduce the impact of violent storms. When paired with saltmarshes, mangroves, ocean currents, nutrient-rich upwelling and other habitats, the ocean provides countless, often invaluable services to society.
We must cherish the ocean’s wealth of services.
To that end, Mapping Ocean Wealth moves us from broad global numbers to specific local details, allowing us to evaluate nature as an economic asset. The data then become actionable and inform engineering, financial and policy language that lead to better planning, conservation and investment decisions.
How Will We Define Success?
In mapping, we are calculating and describing—in both quantitative and spatial terms—all that the ocean does for us today, so we can ensure what the ocean will do for us tomorrow.
We will declare success only when the language of ocean wealth is integrated in government, business and conservation thinking, when partnerships develop across these varied interests and when a culture of stewardship prevails.
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These organizations provide invaluable support for the work of Mapping Ocean Wealth with lead support provided by The Lyda Hill Foundation and The World Bank (Caribbean).
Image credits: © Tim Calver; © Bridget Besaw; © Jeff Yonover;