Expanding the role of participatory mapping to assess ecosystem service provision in local coastal environments

D. Burdon (Corresponding Author), T. Potts, E. McKinley, S. Lew, R. Shilland, K. Gormley, S. Thomson, R. Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


There has been increasing international effort to better understand the diversity and quality of marine natural capital, ecosystem services and their associated societal benefits. However, there is an evidence gap as to how these benefits are identified at the local scale, where benefits are provided and to whom, trade-offs in development decisions, and understanding how benefits support well-being. Often the benefits of conservation are poorly understood at the local scale, are not effectively integrated into policy and are rarely included meaningfully in public discourse. This paper addresses this disjuncture and responds to the demand for improving dialogue with local communities and stakeholders. Participatory GIS mapping is used as a direct means of co-producing knowledge with stakeholder and community interests. This paper drives a shift from development of participatory approaches to adaptive applications in real-world case studies of local, national and international policy relevance. The results from four sites along the UK North Sea coast are presented. This paper showcases a robust stakeholder-driven approach that can be used to inform marine planning, conservation management and coastal development. Although the demonstration sites are UK-focused, the methodology presented is of global significance and can be applied across spatial and temporal scales.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101009
Number of pages16
JournalEcosystem Services
Early online date10 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

The authors wish to acknowledge funding from the University of Aberdeen (Impact Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Award 2017), Natural Environment Research Council (Valuing Nature Placement Scheme 2017/18), the University of Hull (Impact Acceleration Pilot Fund 2017/18), EU-funding under the H2020 DCS4COP project and by Natural Environment Research Council award NE/N013573/1, Title CoastWEB: Valuing the contribution which COASTal habitats make to human health and WEllBeing, with a focus on the alleviation of natural hazards. The authors also wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions made by the Moray Firth Coastal Partnership, the East Grampian Coastal Partnership, the Humber Nature Partnership and The Wash and North Norfolk Marine Partnership in coordinating the workshops, and to all of the local marine stakeholders who have engaged in the process thus far. The authors wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments which helped strengthen the paper.


  • Ecosystem services
  • Societal benefits
  • Co-production of knowledge
  • Participatory mapping
  • Marine protected areas
  • Coastal developments


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