Inequality in aquatic ecosystem services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Multiple aquatic ecosystem services (ES) sustain humanity, but some of them may not be equitably accessible to all people. We take a transdisciplinary approach to recent literature to highlight some of the inequalities specific to aquatic ecosystems, focusing on provisioning, supporting and cultural aquatic ES. We also explore feedbacks between access to ES, awareness, and public support for those services. Without targeted interventions, inequality in aquatic ecosystem service delivery is likely to continue to increase with the projected increase in wealth gaps, increasing global trade insensitive to local values, decreasing awareness of ES availability, and increasing urban population without access to green and blue spaces. We conclude by highlighting examples of potential research needs, emphasizing that systematic assessment of inequality is the first step in seeking equitable access to ES and ensuring continuing public support for protection of aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2963-2974
Number of pages12
Issue number12-13
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
KEK is supported by the State Special funds from the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth. LMB is supported by research grants from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq n° 308974/2020-4 and 465610/2014-5).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Aquatic ecosystem services
  • Inequity
  • Natural assets
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Social justice


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