Conducting a Total Economic Valuation (TEV) of Bermuda's Coral Reefs  

Bermuda is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with an economy supported by international business and tourism.  Increasing coastal development places intense pressure on the island’s natural resources, namely on the marine environment and more specifically on the northernmost coral reef system in the world. The policy issues affecting Bermuda’s coral reefs involve the lack of formal procedure when planning or developing in the marine environment, and the absence of a mechanism for integrating environmental values into those decisions.

The immediate threats faced by Bermuda’s coral reefs relate to the increasing maritime traffic associated with the import of goods to the island, and to the changing tourism industry. The developments necessary to accommodate larger ships have potential direct and indirect impact on the reef system. This may in turn lead to the loss of ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reefs to Bermuda’s community.

Coral reefs provide both commercial and non-commercial goods and services. Estimating the economic value of coral reefs is complex. This value can be divided into use and non-use values; the latter are difficult to measure quantitatively and have the greatest uncertainty attached to them. In this study, the approach used to determine the Total Economic Value (TEV) focuses on 6 key ecosystem goods and services: 1) Coral reef-associated tourism 2) Reef-associated fisheries, 3) Amenity or reef-associated surplus value on real estate, 4) Physical coastal protection, 5) Reef-associated recreational and cultural values and 6) Research and educational values. Each of these six values is quantified using specific valuation techniques, the sum of all providing the TEV.

To place the TEV of coral reefs in context of the economy of Bermuda: the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Bermuda amounted to US$5.85 billion in 2007. The TEV of coral reefs constitutes 12% of Bermuda’s 2007 GDP.


Learn more about coral reefs