Canadian Forest Service Publications

Spatial data, analysis approaches, and information needs for spatial ecosystem service assessments: a review. 2015. Andrew, M.E., Wulder, M.A., Nelson, T.A., Coops, N.C. GIScience & Remote Sensing, Vol. 52, No. 3, 344–373

Year: 2015

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35996

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1080/15481603.2015.1033809

† This site may require a fee

Mark record


Operational use of the ecosystem service (ES) concept in conservation and planning requires quantitative assessments based on accurate mapping of ESs. Our goal is to review spatial assessments of ESs, with an emphasis on the socioecological drivers of ESs, the spatial datasets commonly used to represent those drivers, and the methodological approaches used to spatially model ESs. We conclude that diverse strategies, integrating both spatial and aspatial data, have been used to map ES supply and human demand. Model parameters representing abiotic ecosystem properties can be supported by use of well-developed and widely available spatial datasets. Land-cover data, often manipulated or subject to modeling in a GIS, is the most common input for ES modeling; however, assessments are increasingly informed by a mechanistic understanding of the relationships between drivers and services. We suggest that ES assessments are potentially weakened by the simplifying assumptions often needed to translate between conceptual models and widely used spatial data. Adoption of quantitative spatial data that more directly represent ecosystem properties may improve parameterization of mechanistic ES models and increase confidence in ES assessments.