International team will undertake research to develop tools that identify and nurture positive links between local businesses, local economies, and coastal natural capital.ITHACA, N.Y., Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mark Milstein, clinical professor of management and director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, will lead a team of international researchers to improve the link between local economies and the natural wealth of coastal communities in the East Asia-Pacific, following the signing of an agreement today by the World Bank in Washington D.C. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080212/NYTU116LOGO) Cornell University joins an international team that will undertake research to calculate a value for the services provided to communities by natural assets in the coastal environment, including seagrass beds, mangroves, and coral reefs. The project team will develop analysis tools that identify and nurture positive links between local businesses, local economies, and coastal natural capital. Local, national and regional communities in the Philippines and Indonesia will be involved in the project. Today's signing of a Head Agreement between the World Bank and The University of Queensland (UQ) further embeds Cornell as a leading expert institution in coastal and marine research and management science applications for sustainability. Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), via an investment administered by the World Bank, and UQ. The CCRES project will be managed by the Global Change Institute at UQ. The agreement paves the way for the appointment of Cornell University as a partner in the new CCRES project. Additional funding for CCRES activities will involve Drew Harvell, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who will join a team valuing ecosystem services that contribute to regional policy decisions. Cornell's involvement in CCRES evolved from Harvell's prior research on coral reef health. Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future helped to catalyze the university's involvement in the project. "In many tropical coastal areas, natural capital is in decline as human populations expand and the value of ecosystem services is misunderstood, overlooked, or ignored in a quest for economic progress," said Milstein. "In the long run, both existing businesses and entrepreneurial ventures must operate so they benefit from, and maintain the value of, critical coastal ecosystem services."