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Peer - reviewed papers and book chapters

We describe in detail how to create a Common Asset Trust (CAT) for blue commons and how such a system would operate. Finally, we propose CATs to manage blue commons at different spatial scales, including coastal reefs, EEZs, and ABNJ. 

Hernández-Blanco, M., Costanza, R., Agardy, T., Farley, J., Fulton, E., Kubiszewski, I., Rasheed, R. (2024). Common Asset Trusts for blue commons stewardship. Marine Policy 159, 105957.

On the basis of more than 50,000 scientific publications, policy documents and Indigenous and local knowledge sources, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessed knowledge on nature’s diverse values and valuation methods to gain insights into their role in policymaking and fuller integration into decisions.

Pascual, U., Balvanera, P., Anderson, C.B., Hernández-Blanco, M.,  et al. Diverse values of nature for sustainability. Nature (2023).

An ecosystem is healthy if it is active, maintains its organization and autonomy over time, and is resilient to stress. Healthy ecosystems provide human well-being via ecosystem services, which are produced in interaction with human, social, and built capital. These services are affected by different ecosystem stewardship schemes.

Hernández-Blanco, M., Costanza, R., Chen, H., deGroot, D., Jarvis, D., Kubiszewski, I., Montoya, J., Sangha, K., Stoeckl, N., Turner, K., & van ‘t Hoff, V. (2022). Ecosystem health, ecosystem services, and the well-being of humans and the rest of nature. Global Change Biology, 00, 1– 14.

We modeled the coastal protection and blue carbon ecosystem services provided by the mangroves of the Paz River Basin (El Salvador and Guatemala), with the goal of supporting the IUCN in determining potential priority mangrove areas for conservation and restoration.

Hernández-Blanco M, Moritsch M, Manrow M and Raes L (2022) Coastal Ecosystem Services Modeling in Latin America to Guide Conservation and Restoration Strategies: The Case of Mangroves in Guatemala and El Salvador. Front. Ecol. Evol. 10:843145. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2022.843145

Achieving the SDGs is a future where society reconnects with the rest of nature and develops within its planetary boundaries.  The new economics and the visions and strategies described in this paper, are aimed at achieving these shared global goals.

Hernández-Blanco, M., & Costanza, R. (2021). A new economics to achieve sustainable development goals. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Oxford University Press. doi:

We highlight three of the main sustainability measures and policies the country has adopted to work with nature instead of against it: 1) Protecting more than 25% of its territory, 2) paying farmers to protect and restore the forest and 3) producing electricity almost entirely with renewable energy. Working with nature means acknowledging the multiple benefits that ecosystems provide to society and protecting and restoring the natural capital that provide these benefits.

With the goal of supporting the current efforts of the government of Costa Rica to develop a new PES scheme that include these ecosystems, as well as other policy initiatives on wetlands conservation and restoration, we applied a hybrid approach to estimate the value of ecosystem services from mangrove forests in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Hernández-Blanco, M; Costanza, R; Cifuentes-Jara, M (2021). Economic valuation of the ecosystem services provided by the mangroves of the Gulf of Nicoya using a hybrid methodology. Ecosystem Services 49.

Ecosystems produce a range of benefits to humans. Many of these ecosystem services are best thought of as common property or public goods, since they are non-rival and/or non-excludable. Private property regimes and markets are ineffective and inappropriate institutions to manage them sustainably. These systems can be better managed as commons, using community property rights and Common Asset Trusts (CATs), with legal precedent in the Public Trust Doctrine. 

Costanza, R; Atkins, P; Hernández-Blanco, M; Kubiszewski, I (2021). Common Asset Trusts to Effectively Steward Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services at Multiple Scales. Journal of Environmental Management.

We explore the implications of four scenarios for the value of ecosystem services provided by terrestrial ecosystems to the year 2050 for Latin America and the Caribbean, based on the Great Transition Initiative scenarios and previous studies at a global scale.

Hernández-Blanco, M; Costanza, R; Anderson, S; Kubiszewski, I; Sutton, P (2020) Future scenarios for the value of ecosystem services in Latin America and the Caribbean to 2050. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability.

The concept of natural capital emerged more than three decades ago, it is defined as “a stock of natural resources (i.e., ecosystems) that yield a flow of goods and services (i.e., ecosystem services)”.  We present as well a definition of ecosystem services, “the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems”, they can be economically valued through a wide variety methods that we describe.

Hernández-Blanco, M; Costanza, R. (2019) Natural capital and ecosystem services. In The Routledge Handbook of Agricultural Economics (pp. 254-268). New York: Routledge

While Costa Rica has been a world leader in ecosystem services research and policy, the value of natural capital and ecosystem services is still often ignored or underestimated. The overarching goal of this dissertation is to address this knowledge gap and to formulate economic incentives and institutions that can adequately incorporate ecosystem services.

Hernández-Blanco, M. (2019). The Treasure of the Commons: Valuing and Managing Natural Capital in Costa Rica [PhD Thesis]. The Australian National University (Australia).

Scenario planning and the use of alternative futures have been used successfully to assist organisations, communities and countries to move towards desired outcomes. In this study we used a unique combination of scenario planning and a national public opinion survey to explore preferred futures for Australia in 2050.

Chambers, I; Costanza, R; Zingus, L; Cork, S; Hernandez-Blanco, M; Sofiullah, A; Htwe, T; Kenny, D; Atkins, P; Kasser, T; Kubiszewski, I; Liao, Y; Chan, A; Yuan, K; Finnigan, D; Harte, S (2018) A public opinion survey of four future scenarios for Australia in 2050. Futures.

We calculated the economic value of ecosystem services from seven Ramsar Sites in Costa Rica. Our results show that the total economic value of ecosystem services from these Ramsar Sites is $3.2 billion/year for 2015, a value higher than some economic activities such as agriculture, forestry and fishing ($2.71) and construction ($2.69) for that same year.

Hernández-Blanco, M; Segura-Bonilla, O; Moreno-Díaz, M.L.; Muñoz-Valenciano, E (2017). Valoración de los servicios ecosistémicos que ofrecen siete de los humedales protegidos de importancia internacional en Costa Rica: Palo Verde, Caribe Noreste, Caño Negro, Gandoca- Manzanillo, Maquenque, Térraba-Sierpe y las Baulas. San José, Costa Rica: PNUD – SINAC.

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