Mangrove forests are considered among the most productive and biologically important ecosystems for their uniqueness of ecosystem goods and services. Despite their strong relevance, over the past decades mangrove ecosystems are experiencing a constant global decline. The literature review shows that the economic valuation of ecosystem services took on considerable importance during the 1990s, as more and more scientists recognised this attractive approach to raise awareness for an effective environmental management.


Moreover, the economic and social benefits linked to a particular ecosystem are extremely relevant in decision-making processes, especially if the beneficiaries are populations living in rural settings. This project focuses on the valuation of mangrove ecosystem services within the Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve, a Nicaraguan protected area that is facing a constant depletion of natural resources deriving from mangrove forests. A survey was conducted in the two communities living on the edge of the Nature Reserve, where it was possible to assess the perception of the local population on a wide range of ecosystem services.


The comparison between the two groups highlights how the context can influence valuation. Total Economic Value (TEV) was obtained through the monetary valuation of the provisioning services. To compute the cultural and regulating services, the samples were asked to assign a percentage for both based on the provisioning services value. According to local perception, the TEV of the mangrove ecosystem is 2.81US$/ha/y (or 32.12US$/ha/y at Purchasing Power Parity).


Land area approximations were introduced, conditioning the comparison with the literature. Nevertheless, it is a first step in economic valuation within this Nature Reserve. Finally, the socio-political crisis that has affected Nicaragua is having a strong impact on tourism, which could bind the local community towards an increase in pressure on the already stressed mangrove ecosystem.

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