Seijo, C., Calado, H., McClintock, W.J., Gil, A. & Fonseca, C. (2021) Mapping recreational ecosystem services from stakeholders' perspective in the Azores. One Ecosystem, 6, e65751. DOI:10.3897/oneeco.6.e65751.
Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) in Europe’s Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) is still underdeveloped compared to the European mainland. Most of those territories are small islands for which Marine and Coastal Ecosystems (MCE) constitute a significant resource and provide important provisioning, regulating and cultural Ecosystem Services (ES). Understanding the cultural dimension of ecosystems and considering the cultural benefits and values associated with them, demands methodological plurality, flexibility and creativity. This study focused on two activities related to recreational ES (recreational fishing and recreational SCUBA diving) that are particularly relevant to São Miguel Island (Archipelago of the Azores, Portugal). Stakeholders were interviewed using SeaSketch, a participatory mapping tool in which they indicated where they conduct recreational fishing and scuba diving, the relative value of those areas, in terms of preference over other areas and their willingness to relinquish them for the purpose of conservation. Responses were aggregated and represented in maps showing key areas for the provision of recreational ES around São Miguel. This approach can be used in the Azorean Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) process and other on-going conservation initiatives, to better understand the trade-offs between relevant socio-economic activities and to support negotiations between the government and groups of stakeholders.