by Diana Alexandra Tovar & Jeovah Meireles

Presented at the 15th Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics in the city of Puebla, México, September 10 to 12, 2018


The concept of Ecosystem Services (ES) strengthens the link between ecosystems and society; however, it is not exempt from criticism, like having a fuzzy definition and the tendency to overestimate monetary valuation (Schroter et al., 2014; Pascual et al., 2017). In order to contribute to this debate, the present study carries out a socio-cultural assessment of SE in the Marine Extractives Reserve – RESEX Prainha do Canto Verde (Ceará, Brazil), a complex and dynamic geo-system in the coastal plain of northeast Brazil, whose community is recognized for the struggle to protect their territory.

Social cartography, as a tool to identify ES, allowed us to enrich the ecosystem view with geomorphological, spatial, and territorial aspects.

The socio-cultural assessment follows the Pebble Distribution Method (PDM) (Moreno – Sanchez et al., 2013) with focus groups, which implies a holistic view of the socio-ecological system and recognizes the incommensurability of environmental values. In this sense, the preferences of the community, far from monetary values, were captured in a relative and collective way.

The assessment of social and cultural aspects of marine fisheries is important for incorporating the social dimension and cultural values into public policies, and for a comprehensive accounting of the ecosystems’ contributions to human well-being (Urquhart et al., 2013; Plieninger et al., 2013; Queiroz et al., 2017). In conclusion, the research demonstrates the relevance of cultural services, values and traditional options, key factors to face existing socio-environmental conflicts and support the struggle to protect the territory of Prainha do Canto Verde.