Ongoing knowledge

Research on Environmental Economics

We have projects that are related to a broad variety of topics, including:

  • Resource management;
  • ​Protected areas:
  • Biodiversity conservation;
  • Renewable energies;
  • Ocean pollution;
  • Maritime transport;
  • Fisheries;
  • Aquaculture;
  • ​Sea mining;
  • Valuation of ecosystem services;
  • Land use change;
  • Blue economy;
  • Climate change;
  • Coastal tourism.

 

Our partners include both academic and corporate institutions, private and public organizations at the national and international levels.

Ongoing Projects

The project aims to quantify the ecosystem services provided by irrigated croplands to ecological focus areas (EFA) such as field margins, hedges, trees, fallow land, landscape features, biotopes, buffer strips, and afforested areas, and the habitat configurations serving the maximum capacity of services. The project will also simulate water and habitat delivery of biodiversity services for different climate change scenarios and agriculture storylines in the future. Economic costs and agro-policy environmental trade-offs will be analyzed, and an EFA calculator produced at the farm level. The project develops over two case-studies, collects information in situ and remotely, and the results will receive the input and testing from the farmers, during the project lifespan.

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Ecosystem services (ES) are the benefits provided by nature, and these have a direct impact on human well-being. However, ES valuation studies in Portugal are rare and often done at a local level. ASEBIO assesses and maps ES and their vulnerability in Portugal mainland, based on CORINE land cover (1990-2012). The project will quantify the impacts on ES and tradeoffs considering different policy scenarios affecting land cover change (LCC) for 2040. Selected ES, such as water cleaning, food from agriculture, and others, will be monetarily valued by estimating the costs associated to the deterioration of ES. The project will propose a well-being indicator and assess the impact of LCC according to the different scenarios. A WebGIS will enable a spatially explicit prioritization and problem identification of ES, and the exploration of the different scenarios. The project proposes an innovative methodology for monitoring and valuing ES, and to better understand the impacts of LCC on ES, biodiversity, and human well-being.

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The loss of land to development at the urban-rural/forest interface is of particular concern to policymakers, as the irreversibility that it entails threatens the ecological and socioeconomic value of agricultural and forestlands. This project aims to model private agents’ decisions about whether and when to convert their lands either to reversible or irreversible uses for policy purposes based on an empirical application to a Portuguese study site. Additionally, policy implications will be derived based on scenario analysis, reflecting policy-relevant contexts associated with changes in the regulatory context.
 

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In this project, we will first study the national market for biodiesel from both the demand and the supply side before performing a Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the production of biodiesel from recycling waste cooking oils. The project will also consider the externalities and the social-economic impacts generated by this production and include a discussion of the results and implications for policy-making.
 

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This project combines the efforts of a large group of scientists with the final aim of delivering a Management Plan for the Portuguese purse-seiner fishery. The main task to be developed by Nova SBE Environmental Economics Knowledge Center is to develop a bioeconomic model for this fleet. By doing this project aims at contributing to further integrate economics into fishery policy advice. In particular, the bioeconomic model will be used to derive harvest control rules that endogenously captures economics aspects while using a population model framework that is the basis of most fish stock assessments and fishery management plans. Building upon the project’s results, the bioeconomic model will be extended to account for interactions between species and environmental impacts on targeted fish populations. By doing so, we also aim at contributing to foster the use of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.
 

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Worldwide, the ocean economy is becoming more and more critical. This is also true for Portugal, which has a vast coastal area as well as a robust institutional framework for the development of blue economy activities.

In this project, we structured a guide with relevant information for investors interested in developing activities related to the ocean economy in Portugal. The guide contains general information on economic indicators, regulatory, labor, and taxing aspects, among others. Additionally, it points out what are considered to be the areas of opportunity for future developments in the sector, and it includes specific information on current trends, availability of human resources, funding sources and a business and institutions directory for each of those areas.

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Worldwide marine ecosystem services are under increasing pressure from competing human-usages, such as aquaculture, sea transport, energy production, conservation, fishing, and recreation. This interdisciplinary project rooted in economics, with contributions from natural and other social sciences, aims to investigate how global changes in climate and human activities affect the usage and importance of ecosystem services (ES) spatially and across groups of people. Illustrative examples from the north of Norway and the northwestern and southern coasts of Portugal are considered. In particular, four case studies covering economic sectors of present and potential economic importance in the two countries, namely related to aquaculture, marine fishing tourism, mining, sea transport, and oil spills are selected. Based on the results obtained from these comparative studies, this project aims at contributing to improve policy design regarding marine ES both at the Norwegian and EU levels, where expectations regarding Blue Growth and the marine bio-economy are high.

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Policy Brief

On nature’s shoulders: Riding the big waves in Nazaré
Authors: Maria A. Cunha-e-Sá, Rita Freitas, Luís C. Nunes e Vladimir Otrachshenko

Marine Renewable Energy in Portugal
Authors: Maria A. Cunha-e-Sá, Ana Faria Lopes, Filipa Saldanha

 

The Gulbenkian Oceans Initiative (GOI) funded an interdisciplinary research project with the purpose of determining the economic value of some of the ocean’s benefits to Portugal. The project’s results seek to contribute directly to the adoption of new policies, or to change existing ones, improving the management of maritime activities and ensure the protection of marine ecosystems.

The research project was carried out by two research institutions, resulting in the integration of natural sciences (CESAM, at the University of Aveiro) and economics (Nova School of Business & Economics). Their interdisciplinary approach involved joint work between natural science and social science researchers, thus meaningfully combining knowledge on how marine ecosystems work, with knowledge on how people use those ecosystems.

Research efforts were focused on the marine area between Peniche and Nazaré. The project sought to produce a textbook example of economic valuation of the benefits of marine ecosystems, and of how this knowledge contributes to improve decision-making processes and raise marine environmental awareness.
 

The lines of research adopted concerned (i) the giant wave off Nazaré; (ii) renewable marine energies (offshore wind and wave energies); (iii) sardine fishery; (iv) crustacean trawling; (v) the relationship between the vulnerability of marine and coastal habitats and the benefits they provide; and (vi) the perceptions of different stakeholders about the ocean’s benefits.

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Past Projects

The purpose of this project is to deliver regional forestry/land use models, providing scientific tools to inform forest policy. It builds upon multidisciplinary work to develop state-of-the-art age/size-structured and process-based forest models for some of the main Portuguese tree species.  We propose to evaluate the economic potential of Portuguese forests, discussing improvement on current forest management practices and the impact of climate change on forest productivity.

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