Assessing cultural service values associated with coastal saltmarsh in a rapidly changing urban landscape in South Australia

A/Prof. Beverley Clarke1, Mr Aung Ko Thet1

1Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia


Coastal saltmarshes on the periphery of Adelaide in South Australia are recognised for their biological importance; they perform a range of essential environmental functions. Yet, in this region coastal saltmarshes have been lost and continue to be threatened. Opportunity for the reclamation of this coastline has emerged. A current project examines the blue carbon value of these Adelaide saltmarshes, with the intent of informing decision makers about restoration options, and enhancing research expertise on climate action and coastal saltmarsh rehabilitation. One part of the project is using ecosystem service evaluation to quantify the worth of the habitat. One of the least researched aspects of ecosystem services valuation is that of cultural values. Understanding how values for wetlands are derived from the way people perceive, depend on and or/use ecosystems is limited. This presentation presents the results of an empirical study that investigated how people use or attribute value to these coastal wetlands, attaining data from two population groups. An online survey canvassed various interest groups active in the region while a household questionnaire sought information from people living in adjacent settlements. The presentation shows how participants articulated their connections and ascribed value to the coastal saltmarshes of Adelaide.


Beverley is social scientist particularly interested in how people influence environmental management. She has been investigating how both formal (governance) and informal (cultural and social) processes affect decision-making processes and outcomes for the environment. Dr Clarke has been conducting research in the area of environmental planning and management, specialising in coasts, over the last 20 years. Her current work focusses on cultural values associated with vulnerable coasts, scenario planning for climate futures and climate adaptation, the policy implications of sea level rise, and the social dimensions of natural resource management.

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