A comparison of ecosystem services mapping tools for their potential to support planning and decision-making on a local scale

Anne Carolin Vorstius (Lead / Corresponding author), Christopher J. Spray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The inclusion of an ecosystem services framework into planning and decision-making processes is increasingly being seen as a means to further a better implementation of the Ecosystem Approach and to achieve a more sustainable allocation of resources. Tools are slowly emerging to help scientists and practitioners with mapping ecosystem services. This study reviewed three tools with regard to their potential use as standard tools to be employed in local planning. To this end, an email survey was conducted first to identify the most important criteria practitioners require in an ecosystem services mapping tool. InVEST and EcoServ-GIS were then applied to produce several ecosystem services maps for a small catchment in the Scottish Borders. These maps were compared to already existing maps produced with another method, SENCE. We showed that there can be substantial variations in maps produced with different tools. These reflect the differences between the tools, especially in their requirements for data, their user friendliness and their accuracy. Our comparison highlights that tools so far have had to make a compromise between usability and scientific accuracy, which means that practitioners need to carefully weigh the requirements for a specific project before deciding on the appropriate tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalEcosystem Services
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Catchment management
  • Comparative tool assessment
  • Decision support
  • Ecosystem Approach
  • Ecosystem services mapping

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