Gaomei wetlands are national Taiwanese coastal wetlands. Over the past few years, they have grown into an important water bird habitat and popular bird-watching location. However, the rapid growth in tourism has begun to affect the environmental quality in the Gaomei wetlands. This study combined ecosystem services (ES) and ecological footprint (EF) assessments to evaluate the sustainability status according to the features of each ecosystem service for the different Gaomei wetlands land uses. The results found that (a) the total Gaomei wetlands ecosystem service value increased from 59.24 million TWD in 2008 to 98.10 million TWD in 2015, and the ecosystem service function was continuously improving; (b) the EF increased by 56.12% over 8 years; and (c) there was a negative growth rate of 106.54% in the ecological deficit (ED) in the sustainable ecological evaluation indicators (SEEI). The ecological footprint index (EFI) in 2015 was at Level 4 at 1.02, and the environmental sustainability index (ESI) was at Level 3 at 0.49. Results show that Gaomei wetlands have a low sustainability; therefore, the local, regional, and national governments need to implement regulations to strictly control the Gaomei wetlands land use. This study demonstrated that ES and EF theory application can give an objective guidance to decision-makers to ensure that wetlands eco-security can be maintained at safe levels.
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