During the Gulf of Mexico Alliance All Hands Meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi, the Harte Research Institute (HRI) unveiled their new ecosystem services viewer GecoView.org. GecoView is a Story Map about the benefits of the Gulf of Mexico’s coastal habitats. This online tool shares the value of different ecosystem services provided by three Gulf of Mexico habitats: salt marsh, mangroves, and oyster reefs.
GecoView was developed as part of the project “Ecosystem Services Provided by Gulf of Mexico Habitats: Tools, Valuation, and Application” and its goal is to aid decision-makers by providing dollar values for coastal habitats when comparing alternative management scenarios. The ecosystem services valued were passive use services (e.g. aesthetics, water quality, existence), recreation, storm protection, carbon sequestration, food, and raw materials.
GecoView builds on HRI’s GecoServ.org. GecoServ is an online database distribute and share information about ecosystem service valuation studies relevant to the Gulf of Mexico region and to identify current gaps in related literature. These two tools are valuable resources in understanding how ecosystem services provide valuable products and services to Gulf coastal communities.