1. biological, ecological and economic resources. They offer many

 

1. Introduction

 

The marine environment generates
a large number of ecosystem services and the Arctic marine ecosystem is no
exception. The ice-covered waters and the marginal zone are the special marine
environment of the Arctic that are highly enriched by several biological,
ecological and economic resources. They offer many different kinds of ecosystem
services that include provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural
services. These ecosystems provide biodiversity, essential habitats for
important arctic species, including commercial fisheries, contain mineral
resources such as oil and gas, and maintain processes such as carbon recycling
and so on. Marine areas seasonally or permanently covered by sea ice are a
globally unique habitat favoring increased local productions and create
biological hotspots (CAFF,
2017).

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Studies have shown that the
Arctic marine ecosystem hosts over 2000 species of algae, tens of thousands of microbes, over 5000
animal species, and large populations of seabirds and sea mammals, including
unique and rare species  (Michel et al., 2013), of which many are also commercially
exploited. The marginal ice zone and ice-edge habitats are important for Arctic
endemic species, many of which are red-listed nationally and internationally (NPI, 2017). Sea ice as a habitat has a
unique status and value. Some arctic
marine mammals are sea ice obligates and feeding depend on sea ice, whereas
others use ice, but do not depend on it completely (Laidre et al., 2015; Laidre et al., 2008). These habitats are also important for
many migratory species. Disturbances to the habitats may, therefore, have
consequences for the population levels of many species. There are at least 11
species of Arctic marine mammals, which are particularly vulnerable due to
their dependence on sea ice (Kovacs et al., 2011; Laidre et al., 2015; Laidre et al., 2008).
In addition, the arctic environment offers a wealth of petroleum and
mineral resources. Prediction studies suggest that a considerable fraction
of the world’s undiscovered petroleum reserves lie within the Arctic
waters (Macalister, 2018). Furthermore, the Arctic Ocean
presently acts as a sink for atmospheric CO2. High levels of primary production
over extensive shelf seas, surface water cooling, and sea–ice dynamics have all
been observed to induce locally significant CO2 uptake (MacGilchrist et al., 2014). 

 

Although
the Arctic marine environments are generally healthy, both the recent
anthropogenic activity that increases the disturbances, pollution, and
contaminants, as well as the impacts of climate change has created urgent
concern for management (Hoel, 2010). The ice zone which is particularly
valuable and vulnerable and has the greatest need of management (Boisen & Lomelde, 2017). However, a good ecosystem
management requires a good knowledge base of the ecosystem  (Chavas,
2000)
particularly (i) the value of the biological, ecological and economic
resources, and (ii)  resources dynamics
and the variability. 

 

Although the valuation studies on the Arctic
region has been increasing in the recent years there is still lacking in the
valuation studies of the ice-covered waters and the marginal ice zone
(reference 205). Therefore, assessment of the environmental value of region is
prerequisite for the optimal management of these ecosystems. This study reviews
the environmental values associated with the ice-covered waters and the
marginal ice zone to facilitate for its integrated and ecosystem-based management.
In the next section, we will discuss the valuation framework followed by the
literature review, discussion, and conclusion.

 

2. The environmental value framework

 

The concept
of ‘environmental value’ in our context may differ from the terminology applied
in other contexts (Reser & Bentrupperbäumer, 2005). In this study, we broadly consider the total economic value (TEV) of the
particular environment taking into account of both the socio-economic and
bio-ecological perspectives. TEV is a concept that is used to describe total
environmental value in which tradable as well as non-tradable values are taken
into account (van Rhijn, 2014). The total economic value is defined as:

Total Economic value (TEV) = Socio-economic values
+bio-ecological values or

TEV = DV + (IV + OV + NV)

The total economic value (TEV) of the
environment is the direct use value (DV), indirect use value (IV), options use
value (OV) and nonuse value (NV) of the associated environment (Nunes & Blaeij, 2005; Remoundou et al., 2009).

The DVs are
i) natural and cultured marine species of commercial value such as fisheries,
extractable natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals, ii) tourism and
recreation use of the region and, iii) shipping and transportation. The IV of
refers to benefits that relate to the functioning of the marine ecosystem and
the survival of marine living resources, with no direct commercial values.
Option use values (OVs) such as marine bioprospecting in the future, the nonuse
values (NVs) are bequest value (BV) and existence value (EV) (for details see Remoundou et al. (2009) and references therein.)

The IVs, OVs, NVs are broadly include
the bio-ecological values1 of the of the environment, which according to the (NMCE, 2017), can be summarized as:

 

”The importance
of any ‘specific environment’ for the whole ecosystem. Specifically, the value
is based on importance and distribution of the habitats for birds, fish,
benthic organisms and marine mammals; the life history importance for rare,
unique and threatened species; and the importance for “key species”
for ecosystem productivity or diversity” (NMCE, 2017). 
A marine area has high environmental value when it is important
for preserving the diversity, productivity and special functions of the
ecosystem, such as spawning or nesting areas in addition to the values
associated with direct use values (DV) such as fishing, mining or recreational
use.

 

Valuation of different components
(i.e. biological, ecological and socio-economical) of the marine environment is
essential in order to ensure optimal allocation of the resources between
competing sectors and for the
justification of the environmental policy for management. A lack of
valuation could underestimate the importance of such resources and leave to a
detriment on the ecosystem services. However, quantifying the levels and values
of these environmental services has proven difficult (Nelson
et al., 2009; Ojea et al.,
2010) because the value and thus the societal
costs associated with environmental degradation is often not readily apparent (NMCE, 2016a).

 

Furthermore,
the notion ‘value’ is a complex attribute and determining it is a challenging task. Assessment of the monetary value of
the ecosystem and the associated resources would be very helpful to find the
optimal solution for specific policy questions, but it is not a precondition (WWF, 2015). It may be sufficient for
some policy questions to only take qualitative values into account. In this
regard, economic valuation is never an end in itself. Valuation is not about putting a price on nature but
it as a tool to make
the invisible use of nature visible (WWF, 2015).

1
Derous et al. (2007) 
defines that biological value as a value of biodiversity, without any
reference to anthropogenic use