Aisling Lannin
May 2021

Marine natural capital approach: Learning from the Marine Pioneer

Aspects of the coastal and marine environment are in decline and we are causing irreversible damage to marine biodiversity and a loss of natural capital. This is despite previous efforts to maintain and restore species and habitats. The Marine Pioneer was developed to test innovative ideas for governance of the environment - to inform the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, using a natural capital approach and other approaches, to enhance the marine environment.

The natural capital approach can support a range of marine decision-making and policy delivery. To be effective it must be given a holistic framing and cannot be seen through the restricted lens of a purely economic focus. Its strength is in providing a framework for the structured, consistent integration of environmental, social and economic information, and in making explicit the linkages between environmental characteristics and human wellbeing and livelihoods. Where delivered via holistic place-based applications, this could contribute to the improvement and restoration of the environment and, in combination with other methods/tools, work towards reversing the climate and biodiversity emergencies.