Sousa, L.P., Lillebø A.I., Gooch G.D., Soares J.A., Alves F.L., 2013. Incorporation of Local Knowledge in the Identification of Ria de Aveiro Lagoon Ecosystem Services (Portugal).
Coastal lagoons, such as Ria de Aveiro, are of strategic importance as they play a crucial role in almost all biogeochemical processes that sustain the biosphere and provide a variety of services, which are essential to the human wellbeing. Due to their potential vulnerability, to the increased human-related activities and pressures, the management of these systems requires an integrated and ecosystem based approach with close engagement of civil society. It is in this context that this research aims to include the population knowledge in the identification of Ria de Aveiro ecosystem services. In the scope of the EU-FP7 LAGOONS project 9 Focus Groups with the coastal lagoon inhabitants have been developed, in order to combine different scientific disciplines with local knowledge and stakeholders' views. In these sessions the participants freely discussed the topic of ‘Ria de Aveiro', and identified the types of uses and activities, discussed the current management model, and presented some recommendations for the future. This paper uses this privileged contact and proximity with local population to analyse the ecosystem services that participants indirectly identified. Relevant examples are the use of the lagoon for recreation, fishing or education-research activities. In terms of results, participants mainly identified provisioning and cultural services; however, even indirectly, they show some concerns regarding regulation and support services. Participants recognized the dependency of their uses and activities to a healthy ecosystem. The incorporation of their knowledge and concerns in the Ria de Aveiro management strategies is very important, since it has a pedagogical role and if people identify themselves with the decisions, they will accept them and enforce the compliance by the various users of Ria.