EBM Toolbox: Quantifying, Mapping, and Valuing Ecosystem Services

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

By Sarah Carr

A growing number of tools help managers and policymakers to quantify, map, and value the many services that ecosystems provide to people. Tools can also help determine how management and policy decisions may affect such services. Three tools that aid in assessing ecosystem services are:

  • ARtificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES; www.ariesonline.org). ARIES is a web-based tool for mapping and quantifying environmental assets and evaluating and comparing the impact of alternative policy and land/sea-use scenarios on the provision of ecosystem services. It has been used in projects involving carbon sequestration, flood and sediment regulation, water provision, aesthetics, recreation, subsistence fisheries, and coastal protection.
  • Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST;www.naturalcapitalproject.org/InVEST.html). InVEST is a GIS toolbox for identifying where ecosystem services are provided and consumed, and how resource management decisions affect the economy, environment, and human well-being. It includes models for carbon storage, wave energy, recreation, fishery production, erosion control, habitat quality, water quality, crop pollination, and timber production.
  • Multi-scale Integrated Models of Ecosystem Services (MIMES; www.uvm.edu/giee/mimes). MIMES is a suite of models for assessing the value of ecosystem services by linking the dynamics of the services to human welfare and simulating how the function and value of the services change under alternative management scenarios. The models are being used by the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership to examine trade-offs among different sectors in spatial planning.

Additional resources

(Sarah Carr is coordinator for the EBM Tools Network. Learn more about EBM tools and the EBM Tools Network at www.ebmtools.org.)

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