The increasing unavailability of public financing leads decision-makers to cut funds for protected areas without considering the ensuing environmental, economic and social impacts. The research investigated what and how much value the Miramare Natural Marine Reserve (Italy) was able to create from public funds. The environmental accounting approach was adopted, and environmental costs and benefits taken into account. Environmental benefits assessed ecosystem services such as gas regulation, nutrient cycling, biological control, food production, nursery, raw materials, recreation and science. The model demonstrated that the value produced by the Protected Area fully covered the money spent by public authorities by a rate of 2.5.
Keywords: Marine protected area, environmental accounting, ecosystem service