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Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES)

Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES)

A GIS Application for Assessing, Mapping, and Quantifying the Social Values of Ecosystem Services. Ecosystem services can be defined in various ways; simply put, they are the benefits provided by nature, which contribute to human well-being. These benefits can range from tangible products such as food and fresh water to cultural services such as recreation and aesthetics. As the use of these benefits continues to increase, additional pressures are placed on the natural ecosystems providing them. This makes it all the more important when assessing possible tradeoffs among ecosystem services to consider the human attitudes and preferences that express underlying social values associated with their benefits. While some of these values can be accounted for through economic markets, other values can be more difficult to quantify, and attaching dollar amounts to them may not be very useful in all cases. Regardless of the processes or units used for quantifying such values, the ability to map them and relate them to the ecosystem services to which they are attributed is necessary for effective assessments.

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