Executive Summary

This study focuses on assessing the scientific knowledge of the linkages between ecosystem services
and poverty alleviation in coastal and marine ecosystems. It does not seek to undertake new analysis
per se, but rather to assess existing data, to consider how they can be used to address these
linkages, and to identify the key gaps in knowledge and capacities in research, knowledge generation
and application to policy.
At the outset there are a number of important definitional and ‘boundary issues’ which preface this
study. First, what are the boundaries of coastal and marine systems? Second, what is the most
appropriate measure of poverty? Third, how valid is it to separate individual ecosystem services?
These issues influence how existing data can be used and their compatibility. For example, in
examining the incidence of poverty among people who are dependent on coastal and marine
ecosystem services, how can existing national or cross-national or global data be disaggregated or
interpreted? How far inland should watersheds be analysed in order to understand coastal processes
and ecosystem services? How can the important interactions between marine, coastal and other
terrestrial systems be integrated to understand change in ecosystem services? In the report, the
examples of Bangladesh,