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Green Payments for Blue Carbon

Economic Incentives for Protecting Threatened Coastal Habitats

By Brian C. Murray, Linwood Pendleton, W. Aaron Jenkins, Samantha Sifleet
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Coastal habitats worldwide are under increasing threat of destruction through human activities such as farming, aquaculture, wood harvest, fishing, tourism, marine operations, and real estate development. This loss of habitat carries with
it the loss of critical functions that coastal ecosystems provide: support of marine and terrestrial species, retention of shorelines, water quality, and scenic beauty, to name a few. These losses are large from an ecological standpoint, but they are economically significant as well. Because markets do not easily capture the values of ecosystem services, those who control coastal resources often do not consider these values when choosing whether to clear habitat to produce goods
that can be sold in the marketplace. This market failure leads to excessive habitat destruction. As a result, scientists, policymakers, and other concerned parties are seeking ways to change economic incentives to correct the problem.