Mangroves are recognized as a provider of a variety of products and essential ecosystem services that contribute significantly to the livelihood of local communities. However, over the past decades, mangroves in many tropical areas including the Takalar district, South Sulawesi have degraded and decreased mainly due to conversion to aquaculture. Currently, little is known about the economic benefits of commercialization of aquaculture as compared to those derived from mangroves in the form of products and services. Here, we estimate the Total Economic Value (TEV) of mangrove benefits in order to compare it with the benefit value of commercial aquaculture. Market prices, replacement costs, benefit transfer value and Cost-Benefit Analyses (CBA) have been used for value determination and comparison. The results show that the per year TEV of mangroves in the study area (Takalar district, South Sulawesi) was in the range of 4370 thousands USD (kUSD) to 10,597 kUSD or 4 kUSD to 8 kUSD per hectare (the highest value contribution derived from the indirect use value (94%)), whereas commercial aquaculture had a net benefit value of 228 kUSD or 3 kUSD per hectare. In addition, the comparison of Net Present Value (NPV) between the benefit value of mangroves and that of commercial aquaculture revealed that conversion of mangroves into commercial aquaculture was not economically beneficial when the analysis was expanded to cover the costs of environmental and forest rehabilitation.
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