Valoracion economica

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THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF THE ENVIRONMENT: CASES FROM SOUTH ASIA

ECONOMIC VALUATION OF THE MANGROVE ECOSYSTEM ALONG THE KARACHI COASTAL AREAS
Samina Khalil Applied Economics Research Institute, Karachi

January, 1999

This paper is forthcoming in Joy E. Hecht, ed., The Economic Value of the Environment: Cases from South Asia, to be published by IUCN in 1999. This paper is copyrighted byIUCN/US. It may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form for educational or non-profit uses, without special permission from the copyright holder, provided acknowledgement of the source is made. All four papers in the forthcoming volume are available on the web at http://www.iucnus.org/publications.html.

ECONOMIC VALUATION OF THE MANGROVE ECOSYSTEM ALONG THE KARACHI COASTAL AREAS
SaminaKhalil Applied Economics Research Institute, Karachi

ABSTRACT The mangroves of the Indus River Delta in the Karachi, Pakistan coastal areas provide a wealth of goods and services to people who live and work among them. However, these products are not sold in established markets, so their economic importance goes unrecognized. As a result, the expansion of regional industry, agriculture, andpopulation are permitted to threaten the sustainability of the mangrove ecosystems. This study describes the broad array of goods and services provided by the mangroves, and uses market data to estimate the economic value of a few of them. It then argues for the importance of more thorough mangrove valuation studies as a crucial input into policy decisions which will affect the viability of mangroveecosystems in the future.

INTRODUCTION This study focuses on economic valuation of the mangrove ecosystem along the Karachi coastal areas. The mangrove ecosystem of the Indus Delta coastal zone is a vital wetland area of great ecological and economic significance. The location of Pakistan's mangrove forests in a temperate zone is unique, as the tidal forests of most other countries are intropical areas. The mangroves of Pakistan occur mainly in the Indus Delta in the provinces of Sind and Baluchistan along the Arabian Sea coast. As recently as the early 1980s, mangroves grew all along the 240 km coastline, occupying an area estimated at 600,000 acres, approximately 40% of the entire tidal belt and 10% of the Indus Delta fan. At that time they were among the largest mangrove forests inthe world and certainly the largest in an arid climate. The Indus Delta mangroves are dependent upon forest water discharges from the Indus River, as are other mangroves in deltaic regions of the world, because they grow better in low salinity water and soft alluvial substrate. Mangrove ecosystems are complex, diverse and important. Their complexity and importance pertain not only to their role inthe biosphere, but also to the broader sphere of human-mangrove interactions. Understanding their economic value is therefore important in the search for strategies to protect them.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF THE MANGROVE ECOSYSTEM From an economic point of view, Pakistan's mangrove ecosystems are important for a variety of reasons. For countries like Pakistan, where population and economicpressures on the coastal zone are high, mangrove forests could be considered a primary natural resource. Not only are the forests themselves of direct value to the economy, but they also protect and sustain other key coastal resources.

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The mangrove forests have vital economic importance in sustaining the productivity of inshore and offshore fisheries. They provide shelter and nurseries forcommercial fishery species and some coastal species such as shrimps. Pakistan's thriving shrimp fishery, which almost entirely depends upon the mangrove ecosystem, earns some US $100 million annually. Many of the fish species which contribute to domestic and foreign consumption are directly harbored by the mangroves during a part of their life cycle, and they remain dependent on the mangrove food web...
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