Skip to main content
Non-Linearity in Ecosystem Services: Temporal and Spatial Variability in Coastal Protection
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
  • Evamaria W. Koch
  • Edward Barbier, University of Wyoming
  • Brian R. Silliman
  • Denise J. Reed
  • Gerardo M. E. Perillo
  • Sally D. Hacker, Oregon State University
  • Elise F. Granek, Portland State University
  • Jurgenne H. Primavera
  • Nyawira Muthiga
  • Stephen Polasky, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • Benjamin S. Halpern, University of California - Santa Barbara
  • Christopher J. Kennedy, University of Wyoming
  • Carrie V. Kappel, University of California - Santa Barbara
  • Eric Wolanski, James Cook University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Coastal ecology,
  • Climatic changes -- Environmental aspects -- United States,
  • Ecosystem services -- Economic aspects
Natural processes tend to vary over time and space, as well as between species. The ecosystem services these natural processes provide are therefore also highly variable. It is often assumed that ecosystem services are provided linearly (unvaryingly, at a steady rate), but natural processes are characterized by thresholds and limiting functions. In this paper, we describe the variability observed in wave attenuation provided by marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs and therefore also in coastal protection. We calculate the economic consequences of assuming coastal protection to be linear. We suggest that, in order to refine ecosystem-based management practices, it is essential that natural variability and cumulative effects be considered in the valuation of ecosystem services.

This is the publisher's final PDF. Copyright by the Ecological Society of America

Persistent Identifier
Citation Information
Koch, Evamaria W., Edward B. Barbier, Brian R. Silliman, Denise J. Reed, Gerardo M. E. Perillo, Sally D. Hacker, Elise F. Granek, et al. 2007. Non-linearity in ecosystem services: temporal and spatial variability in coastal protection. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7, no. 1: 29-37.