Millennium Ecosystem Assessment


Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Understanding the Economic Value of the Ocean


Natural systems make an extraordinary contribution to our individual health and wealth. Although seemingly distant and disconnected, the ocean is no different than land systems. The ocean provides much of the employment, food, energy, efficient transportation of goods, recreation, and spiritual value that promote our wellbeing. It filters our waste, cycles our fresh water, augments our nutrition, and harbors our growing communities. Sustaining the ocean is indisputably in our self-interest, invaluable for us now and for the future.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is a comprehensive attempt to quantify this value so that, as interested citizens, we can understand the profit and loss directly linked to our specific decisions about ocean issues. Information is available at the address above and published versions may be ordered from Island Press.

The Assessment is technical and complicated. However, an excellent, well-organized synthesis and presentation of the questions raised and the answers suggested has been developed by

Links to reports and individual chapters available for download in PDF format.

This report is a sysnthesis of the findings of the MA on marine and coastal ecosystems, taken from the global and sub-global assessments. This synthesis report sets out to provide answers to a series of questions that all stakeholders not just decision makers may ask: what is at stake, what is the current status of marine and coastal ecosysytems, why should we care if we lose marine and coastal ecosystems, and what can be done to ensure that marine and coastal ecosystems and services are conserved.

All water systems are inextricably linked. The above report (pdf) was written as a guide for the parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, on the MA findings concerning inland, coastal, and near-shore marine wetlands.