Using cultural ecosystem services to inform restoration priorities in the Laurentian Great Lakes

TitleUsing cultural ecosystem services to inform restoration priorities in the Laurentian Great Lakes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJ Allan, David, Smith Sigrid D. P., McIntyre Peter B., Joseph Christine A., Dickinson Caitlin E., Marino Adrienne L., Biel Reuben G., Olson James C., Doran Patrick J., Rutherford Edward S., Adkins Jeffrey E., and Adeyemo Adesola O.
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Pagination418 - 424
Date Published10/2015

Ecological restoration programs often attempt to maintain or enhance ecosystem services (ES), but fine-scalemaps of multiple ES are rarely available to support prioritization among potential projects. Here we use agencyreports, citizen science, and social media as data sources to quantify the spatial distribution of five recreationalelements of cultural ES (CES) – sport fishing, recreational boating, birding, beach use, and park visitation –across North America’s Laurentian Great Lakes, where current restoration investments exceed US$1.5 billion.These recreational CES are widely yet unevenly distributed, and spatial correlations among all except park vis-itation indicate that many locations support multiple CES benefits. Collectively, these five service metrics cor-relate with tourism gross domestic product, indicating that local economies benefit from ecosystem conditionsthat support CES. However, locations of high recreational CES delivery are often severely affected by environ-mental stressors, suggesting that either ecosystem condition or human enjoyment of these recreational CES isresilient even to substantial levels of stress. Our analyses show that spatial assessments of recreational CES arean informative complement to ecosystem stress assessments for guiding large-scale restoration efforts.