Modelling the economics of ecosystem services: nutrient retention in wetlands and fisheries in Lake Victoria
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This paper models the effect of changes in wetlands yields within the freshwater fishery of (the Kenyan segment) of Lake Victoria. Specifically, it models the nutrient retention function of wetlands as a buffer against fertilizer run-off from agriculture, and the impact of nutrient loading on the fishery. Run-off from the watershed is among the major causes of eutrophication in the lake, along with atmospheric deposition and sewage and other organic discharges from domestic and industrial activities. The ecological component of the model captures the interactions between phosphorus loading, wetland area, water quality and fish stocks. Chlorophyll-a concentration is used as a proxy for phytoplankton density, and as a measure of nutrient enrichment. The impact of this on fish stocks is then estimated using using Ecopath. The economic component of the model then evaluates the effect of changes in stocks on performance in the fishery, given the regulatory regime in Kenya. We use the results to obtain an estimate of the value of the nutrient retention function of wetlands on the margins of the lake.
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