In the 1980s, Thailand’s government, initially supported by the World Bank, focused on a single ecosystem service—aquaculture—to supply a growing frozen shrimp export industry.

A retrospective analysis of the conversion of mangroves to shrimp farms demonstrated that this decision was economically beneficial only if the analysis was limited to the values of the shrimp harvest and the mangrove’s marketable forest products. When the analysis was extended to cover the value of several nonmarketed ecosystem services, including coastline protection and a nursery for wild fish, maintaining intact mangroves became the sound economic development choice.