IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Multiscale Integrated Model of Ecosystem Services (MIMES): Simulating the interactions of coupled human and natural systems


  • Boumans, Roelof
  • Roman, Joe
  • Altman, Irit
  • Kaufman, Les


In coupled human and natural systems ecosystem services form the link between ecosystem function and what humans want and need from their surroundings. Interactions between natural and human components are bidirectional and define the dynamics of the total system. Here we describe the MIMES, an analytical framework designed to assess the dynamics associated with ecosystem service function and human activities. MIMES integrate diverse types of knowledge and elucidate how benefits from ecosystem services are gained and lost. In MIMES, users formalize how materials are transformed between natural, human, built, and social capitals. This information is synthesized within a systems model to forecast ecosystem services and human-use dynamics under alternative scenarios. The MIMES requires that multiple ecological and human dynamics be specified, and that outputs may be understood through different temporal and spatial lenses to assess the effects of different actions in the short and long term and at different spatial scales. Here we describe how MIMES methodologies were developed in association with three case studies: a global application, a watershed model, and a marine application. We discuss the advantages and disadvantage of the MIMES approach and compare it to other broadly used ecosystem service assessment tools.

Suggested Citation

  • Boumans, Roelof & Roman, Joe & Altman, Irit & Kaufman, Les, 2015. "The Multiscale Integrated Model of Ecosystem Services (MIMES): Simulating the interactions of coupled human and natural systems," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 30-41.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:12:y:2015:i:c:p:30-41
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.01.004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. St. Martin, Kevin & Hall-Arber, Madeleine, 2008. "The missing layer: Geo-technologies, communities, and implications for marine spatial planning," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 779-786, September.
    2. Vemuri, Amanda W. & Costanza, Robert, 2006. "The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: Toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 119-133, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Santos-Martín, F. & Zorrilla-Miras, P. & Palomo, I. & Montes, C. & Benayas, J. & Maes, J., 2019. "Protecting nature is necessary but not sufficient for conserving ecosystem services: A comprehensive assessment along a gradient of land-use intensity in Spain," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 43-51.
    2. Ochoa, Vivian & Urbina-Cardona, Nicolás, 2017. "Tools for spatially modeling ecosystem services: Publication trends, conceptual reflections and future challenges," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 26(PA), pages 155-169.
    3. Kenny, Daniel C. & Costanza, Robert & Dowsley, Tom & Jackson, Nichelle & Josol, Jairus & Kubiszewski, Ida & Narulla, Harkiran & Sese, Saioa & Sutanto, Anna & Thompson, Jonathan, 2019. "Australia's Genuine Progress Indicator Revisited (1962–2013)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 1-10.
    4. Sattler, Claudia & Loft, Lasse & Mann, Carsten & Meyer, Claas, 2018. "Methods in ecosystem services governance analysis: An introduction," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 34(PB), pages 155-168.
    5. Baustert, Paul & Othoniel, Benoit & Rugani, Benedetto & Leopold, Ulrich, 2018. "Uncertainty analysis in integrated environmental models for ecosystem service assessments: Frameworks, challenges and gaps," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 33(PB), pages 110-123.
    6. Staes, Jan & Broekx, Steven & Van Der Biest, Katrien & Vrebos, Dirk & Olivier, Beauchard & De Nocker, Leo & Liekens, Inge & Poelmans, Lien & Verheyen, Kris & Jeroen, Panis & Meire, Patrick, 2017. "Quantification of the potential impact of nature conservation on ecosystem services supply in the Flemish Region: A cascade modelling approach," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 124-137.
    7. Kenny, Daniel C., 2017. "Modeling of natural and social capital on farms: Toward useable integration," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 356(C), pages 1-13.
    8. Kolosz, B.W. & Athanasiadis, I.N. & Cadisch, G. & Dawson, T.P. & Giupponi, C. & Honzák, M. & Martinez-Lopez, J. & Marvuglia, A. & Mojtahed, V. & Ogutu, K.B.Z. & Van Delden, H. & Villa, F. & Balbi, S., 2018. "Conceptual advancement of socio-ecological modelling of ecosystem services for re-evaluating Brownfield land," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 33(PA), pages 29-39.
    9. Costanza, Robert & de Groot, Rudolf & Braat, Leon & Kubiszewski, Ida & Fioramonti, Lorenzo & Sutton, Paul & Farber, Steve & Grasso, Monica, 2017. "Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go?," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 28(PA), pages 1-16.
    10. Olosutean Horea, 2015. "Methods for Modeling Ecosystem Services: A Review," Management of Sustainable Development, Sciendo, vol. 7(1), pages 5-12, June.
    11. Oosterbroek, Bram & de Kraker, Joop & Huynen, Maud M.T.E. & Martens, Pim, 2016. "Assessing ecosystem impacts on health: A tool review," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 237-254.
    12. Lopes, Rita & Videira, Nuno, 2017. "Modelling feedback processes underpinning management of ecosystem services: The role of participatory systems mapping," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 28(PA), pages 28-42.
    13. Lopes, Rita & Videira, Nuno, 2019. "How to articulate the multiple value dimensions of ecosystem services? Insights from implementing the PArticulatES framework in a coastal social-ecological system in Portugal," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-1.
    14. Maia de Souza, Danielle & Lopes, Gabriela Russo & Hansson, Julia & Hansen, Karin, 2018. "Ecosystem services in life cycle assessment: A synthesis of knowledge and recommendations for biofuels," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 30(PB), pages 200-210.
    15. Xu, Xibao & Jiang, Bo & Tan, Yan & Costanza, Robert & Yang, Guishan, 2018. "Lake-wetland ecosystem services modeling and valuation: Progress, gaps and future directions," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 33(PA), pages 19-28.
    16. Kubiszewski, Ida & Costanza, Robert & Anderson, Sharolyn & Sutton, Paul, 2017. "The future value of ecosystem services: Global scenarios and national implications," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 26(PA), pages 289-301.
    17. Elliot, Thomas & Bertrand, Alexandre & Babí Almenar, Javier & Petucco, Claudio & Proença, Vânia & Rugani, Benedetto, 2019. "Spatial optimisation of urban ecosystem services through integrated participatory and multi-objective integer linear programming," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 409(C), pages 1-1.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:12:y:2015:i:c:p:30-41. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.