From the beginning of time, the health and economic prosperity of humans in societies have been inextricably linked to the environment and its various types of ecosystems. The productivity or the services derived from natural resources in ecosystems serve as inputs to enable humans to produce various outputs or goods and services that have economic value.
Aquatic/marine ecosystems are among the most productive in the world being the source of a diverse array of food, materials, medicine, oxygen, at the same time providing countless other benefits, from coastal protection, recreation, carbon sequestration, among others.
From goods and services, the direct and indirect economic benefits are countless. The health of a particular aquatic ecosystem determines its productivity. For example, one hectare of a healthy mangrove forest is valued at US$1,396/year (Padilla et al, 1996; Schatz, 1991 & Trinidad 1994), one hectare of healthy coral reef at US$350,000/year (Burke, Selig and Spalding, 2002) and one hectare of seagrass is worth US$195,990/year (Consvalmap.org; Samonte-Tan, M.A. Diviva, J. Tabara, E.Caballes, Economic Valuation of Coastal and Marine Resources: Bohol Marine Triangle, Philippines" Coastal Management, 35(2), 319-338, 200).
Hence based on these values, a MPA with a 150-hectare intact reef, 78-hectare intact mangrove forest and a 50-hectare intact seagrass, for example, is worth US$62.4 million a year!