ARIES (ARtificial Intelligence for Environment & Sustainability)

Overview
Description: 

ARIES (ARtificial Intelligence for Environment & Sustainability) is a collaborative and open-source platform for interoperable models and data, based on the Knowledge Laboratory (k.LAB) technology: an AI-powered and digital software for rapid ecosystem service assessment and valuation. It gives equal emphasis to ecosystem service supply, demand and flow in order to quantify actual service provision and use by society (as opposed to quantifying potential service benefits). It aims to provide a suite of models that support science-based decision-making where nature counts. Besides ecosystem services, ARIES also tackles natural capital accounting, food security, marine spatial planning, and renewable energy.

Input: 

Spreadsheets, databases (e.g. Access), maps (global maps are available by default online) or GIS databases

Output: 
Maps
Quantitative data on ecosystem services
Environmental asset portfolio
Scale: 
Local scale
Landscape scale
Regional scale
National scale
Multi-scale
Cost of the tool (and guidance): 
Open access (free)
Fee (consultancy service)
Context: 
A range of land uses.
Resource requirement (software): 
Standalone k.LAB software tool environment. ARIES Explorer (k.Explorer) is run from a web-based platform, and by early 2021 will be available through the U.N. Global Platform.
Level of technical expertise required: 
Internet use skills
Basic – intermediate GIS skills
Technical / GIS / modelling skills (training advised)
Types of ecosystem service included: 
Regulating
Provisioning
Cultural
Habitat type (UK NEA habitats): 
Mountains, moors and heaths
Semi-natural grasslands
Enclosed farmland
Woodland
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Urban
Marine
Coastal margins
How does it work?: 

ARIES uses artificial intelligence to pair ES models with spatial data in order to quantify ES flows for a study area. The software will prioritize specific process-based models and revert to simpler models where required. It is based on the k.LAB technology which allows researchers to contribute models and scientific data that simulate and integrate environmental and socioeconomic systems. Collaborative information is hosted on a network and when provided with a user query, ARIES automatically builds all the agents involved in the nature/society interaction, connects them into a flow network and creates the best models for each agent and connection. The system to be analysed is defined by selecting a spatial context (i.e., bounding box, political jurisdiction, watershed and more) on the map and setting the spatial and temporal resolution. This allows for a detailed and dynamic assessment of how nature provides benefits to people. ARIES has global models for carbon storage, sediment regulation, pollination, crop production, nature-based tourism, outdoor recreation, and monetary valuation of forest ecosystem services through spatially explicit meta-analysis; with models of riverine flood regulation and water supply in advanced prototype and regional models for western Europe available for additional services like timber supply and forage production. ARIES prototypes are currently available for experienced modellers (training is recommended), and a web-based ARIES Explorer (k.Explorer) suitable for non-technical users was released in 2018.