The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has agreed on an "Indicative list (non-exhaustive) of examples of functions of the natural environment that directly (flora and fauna) or indirectly (services provided by ecosystems) derive from biological diversity" (Decision COP VI/7, Appendix 3). The list includes several functions that are relevant to coastal areas and contributes to sustainable coastal tourism.

They can be summarized as follows:

I Production functions:

  1. Natural production
    • Timber, firewood and natural fodder production
    • Fish, shellfish and harvestable bush meat production
    • Supply of surface and ground water
  2. Nature-based human production
    • Crop and range productivity
    • Managed forest productivity
    • Aquaculture and mariculture productivity
  3. Carrying functions
    • Suitability for nature conservation, leisure and tourism activities
    • Suitability for navigation
    • Suitability for construction, settlement, industry, infrastructure etc.

II Processing and regulation functions:

  1. Land-based functions
    • Coastal protection against floods
    • Coastal stabilization against accretion/erosion
    • Soil protection
    • Biological control mechanisms
  2. Water related functions
    • Flushing/cleansing/purification function
    • River base flow regulation
    • Regulation of water balance
    • Sedimentation/retention capacity
    • Prevention of saline ground and surface water intrusion
  3. Air-related functions
    • Filtering of air
    • Wind breaks
  4. Biodiversity-related functions
    • Maintenance of genetic, species and ecosystem composition
    • Maintenance of spatial and temporal structure
    • Maintenance of key processes for structuring or maintaining biodiversity
  5. Signification functions
    • Cultural/religious/scientific/landscape functions