The Grass is Always Bluer. An investigation into the applicability of Market-based Governance for Seagrass in Sweden
Sammanfattning: In recent years the concept of “Blue carbon” has brought attention to the importance of Mangroves, Seagrass and Saltmarsh ecosystems in carbon cycles. Concerns over climate change has had countries commit to decreasing CO2 emissions, often using natural processes to sequester CO2. This trend has often followed a market approach through creating a monetary value and market for CO2. This Climate Finance strategy is now starting to be applied to Blue Carbon ecosystems however, seagrass is underutilised, and it is rarely used in developed nations. As such, this paper aims to test the applicability of such a governance model in this context, using Sweden and the management of seagrass ecosystems as a case study. This was assessed using a qualitative literature synthesis and frameworks developed from Wunder’s (2015) definition for Payment for ecosystem services (PES) and the concept for Loss and Damage applied to the Swedish context. This study found that market-based governance of the seagrass species Zoestera Marina, through the monetary value of its CO2 sequestration, fisheries enhancement, and coastal erosion protection services, has potential within a Swedish context. Specifically, the use of the Voluntary carbon market (VCM) is found to be the most applicable strategy. Furthermore, through applying seagrass ecosystems services to the Loss and Damage concept, it is shown that conserving and restoring such an ecosystem can reduce Loss and Damage from climate change. The use of the VCM approach as a basis for a demonstration project to improve management strategies and best practice is proposed. The use of the Loss and Damage concept as justification for this is suggested. The issues surrounding the concept of market based environmental governance are addressed and whether or not they apply in this case is discussed. Finally, further research regarding the application of this mode of governance on seagrass is discussed.
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