1st Edition

The Economics of Estuary Restoration in South Africa

By Douglas J. Crookes Copyright 2024
    86 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the economic costs and benefits of the ecological restoration of estuaries, utilizing case studies from South Africa.

    Estuaries are important ecosystems from both an ecological and human perspective. Yet, in many parts of the world they are often degraded environments, facing threats from climate change, invasive species, fire and wastewater pollution. While the environmental benefits of restoring degraded environments are well discussed, this book specifically examines the economic benefits of doing so. It applies a cost-benefit analysis, which focuses on a range of key ecosystem services, including human health, fishing value, recreational value and property value. The book utlizes three detailed studies of the Swartkops estuary, the Great Brak estuary and the Knysna estuary in South Africa, but also draws out lessons that can be applied to coastal environments across the world. Overall, this book demonstrates that ecological restoration does pay and that the value of additional ecosystem services gained through restoration far exceeds the costs associated with this restoration process.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental management and restoration, ecological economics, ecosystem services and environmental conservation.


    1 Introduction

    2 The recreational and human health costs from declining water quality in the Swartkops estuary, South Africa

    3 Improving water quality in the Swartkops estuary: Impacts on ecosystem services

    4 Economics of water hyacinth removal in the Swartkops estuary

    5 The economic benefits of removing Spartina alterniflora from the Great Brak estuary

    6 The economic benefits of restoring Knysna estuary following the 2017 Great Fire

    7 Discussion and summary of findings


    Douglas J. Crookes is an associate professor of environmental governance in the School for Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He has over 22 years of experience conducting problem-focused and applied research at the interface between the environment and economics. He is the author of Mathematical Models and Environmental Change: Case Studies in Long Term Management (Routledge, 2022).