SENCE (Spatial Evidence for Natural Capital Evaluation)


SENCE (Spatial Evidence for Natural Capital Evaluation) provides maps, diagrams and reports to support evidence-based decision-making on ecosystem services in a spatial context. It is based on the concept that the capability of an area of land to deliver ecosystem services depends on factors including habitat, soil and geology, landform and hydrology, how land is managed and how it is culturally understood.

The tool is intended to be used to help decision-makers understand the impact of land management decisions on ecosystem services. This should help them to reach more balanced and sustainable decisions where there are trade-offs between increased provision of food, energy and water to meet the demands of a growing population, and the hidden and more visible services provided by ecosystems.


GIS datasets (existing spatial data). Other data sources such as earth observation and remotely sensed data can be used.

Tables / statistics / reports
Local scale
Landscape scale
Regional scale
National scale
Cost of the tool (and guidance): 
Fee (consultancy service)
A range of land uses
Resource requirement (software): 
None - the tool is run by Environment Systems. If you wish to analyse and interrogate the results further you will need GIS software (ArcGIS or QGIS). A web map service and an FME update tool to re-run ecosystem service maps based on up dated habitat information are also available.
Level of technical expertise required: 
None – tool is run in-house by a consultant
Types of ecosystem service included: 
Habitat type (UK NEA habitats): 
Mountains, moors and heaths
Semi-natural grasslands
Enclosed farmland
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Coastal margins
How does it work?: 

The first step is to construct a Habitat Asset Register: a GIS habitat map linked to a table which shows how well different habitats provide each ecosystem service. This is then combined with spatial datasets of biophysical indicators such as geology, soil, topography and hydrology. “Rule bases” are used to assign scores to these indicators that reflect their impact on each ecosystem service. For each service, a raster map showing the ability of each grid square or pixel to provide the service is created by combining and sometimes weighting the scores for the relevant factors using raster mathematics. This gives a series of maps showing the current provision of ecosystem services, the opportunities to increase provision through management interventions, and the areas where ecosystem service provision is at risk. Where possible, the datasets and maps are verified, sometimes using ground truthing, using input from local stakeholders. The output maps are available as pdfs and as layers designed to be integrated into a GIS either as separate files or via a web map service (WMS). 

Where can I get it?:


For references e.g. [01] see the reference list