Mapping urban cultural ecosystem services in support of green infrastructure planning

Project description: 

Green infrastructure, such as trees, parks and waterways can help regulate urban hazards such as water surface run-off, improve the aesthetic and economic value of an area and provide opportunities to interact with nature. To ensure that they deliver these benefits in the places where they are most needed, local authorities, city planners and developers need an evidence base to target green infrastructure resources and effort. A Forest Research Project, focussing on Edinburgh, Scotland sought to address this need. SPADES (Spatial Decisions on Ecosystem Services), a modelling tool, was applied in Edinburgh to map predicted cultural ecosystem service supply, demand and use, and to highlight gaps and hotspots for targeting resources. The locations where people culturally benefitted from nature within Edinburgh were assessed using wildlife records and online photographs posted on social media. Detailed environmental and social data layers were used and partitioned into ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ categories. The outputs were then overlaid with a GREEN SURGE public mapping survey (

Organisations involved: 

Forest Research, Green Surge

Scale of project: 
Edinburgh, Scotland
Total area covered by project: 
264 (sq. km)
Special purposes of project: 
Map social/cultural values

Which ecosystem services were focused on?: 

  • Aesthetic/inspiration
  • Sense of place/heritage
  • Education
  • Health and well-being
  • Recreation/tourism
  • Spiritual/religious
Habitats mapped for ecosystem services: 
Key outputs available: 
Contact name: 
Chole Bellamy
Contact job title: 
Spatial Scientist
Forest Research
Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9SY, UK
0300 067 5913