The following are a selection of ways in which the value of the natural environment can be assessed and communicated. It forms part of the Tool Assessor service provided by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network.
Tool Assessor lists a range of tools for mapping ecosystem services as shown below. As we revise Tool Assessor, we will also be profiling recent mapping products including:
EcoservR is an updated version of Ecoserv-GIS, a toolkit originally developed by Durham Wildlife Trust for mapping habitats and ecosystem services in the UK using widely available national datasets. The toolkit generates an environmental baseline classifying over 200 habitat types, and uses spatial models to map their capacity to provide a range of ecosystem services, as well as the demand for them.
- A beta-release of the toolkit as a series of R scripts is due for launch in spring 2021, and with a user interface later in the year. EcoservR will be free to use.
- A full profile of the tool will be available on Tool Assessor as soon as the tool is released until that point you can find out more via the EcoservR website - https://ecoservr.github.io/EcoservR/
NEVO (Natural Environment Valuation Online tool)
NEVO is a freely accessible online tool that allows users to select an area anywhere in England or Wales, from the scale of a county or catchment down to a 2km grid cell, and then view estimates of the value of that area for delivering a range of ecosystem services (agricultural production, timber production, greenhouse gas emissions, recreation, water quantity and water quality) and its value for biodiversity (estimated number of species present).
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)..
i-Tree Eco is a software application designed for urban forest assessment. It uses field data from complete inventories or randomly located sample plots, along with hourly air pollution and meteorological data. It quantifies the structure and environmental effects of urban forests (for trees and shrubs) and calculates their value to communities.
InVEST is a suite of open-source software models for mapping and valuing ecosystem services provided by land and seascapes. It uses data about the environment to explore how changes in ecosystems are likely to affect the flow of benefits to people. It is designed to inform decisions about natural resource management.
ORVal (Outdoor Recreation Valuation Tool)
ORVal is a freely accessible web-based tool that predicts the number of visits to existing and new greenspaces in England, and estimates the welfare value of those visits in monetary terms. It is based on an econometric model of recreational demand derived from MENE data.
SENCE (Spatial Evidence for Natural Capital Evaluation) underpins evidence-based decision-making on natural capital and ecosystem services in a spatial context through maps, diagrams and reports. It is based on the concept that the capability of an area of land to deliver generate ecosystem services depends on factors including habitat, soil and geology, landform and hydrology, how land is managed and how it is culturally understood.
HydroloGIS is a GIS tool from Viridian Logic that models (sub-) catchments to (1) show which parts of the landscape are working hardest to provide the specific benefits needed locally; then (2) identify which habitats to create and where to create them to produce the greatest improvements in service provision at the least cost. It is quick to use for valuation studies or for maximising return on investment when designing a nature-based solution.