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Global use of ecosystem service models


  • Posner, Stephen
  • Verutes, Gregory
  • Koh, Insu
  • Denu, Doug
  • Ricketts, Taylor


Spatial models of ecosystem services inform land use and development decisions. Understanding who uses these models and conditions associated with use is critical for increasing their impact. We tracked use of The Natural Capital Project's InVEST models and observed 19 different models were run 43,363 times in 104 countries over a 25-month period. Models for regulating services were most commonly used. We analyzed relationships between country-level variables and use of models and found capacity (population, GDP, Internet and computer access, and InVEST trainings), governance, biodiversity, and conservation spending are positively correlated with use. Civic involvement in conservation, carbon project funding, and forest cover are not correlated with use. Using multivariate statistical models, we analyzed which combinations of country-level variables best explain use of InVEST and found further evidence that variables related to capacity are the strongest predictors. Finally, we examined InVEST trainings in detail and found a significant effect of trainings on subsequent use of InVEST models. Our results indicate the general capacity of a country may limit uptake and use of decision support tools such as InVEST. Model-specific trainings are only one form of capacity building likely required for models to have desired levels of use and policy impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Posner, Stephen & Verutes, Gregory & Koh, Insu & Denu, Doug & Ricketts, Taylor, 2016. "Global use of ecosystem service models," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 131-141.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:17:y:2016:i:c:p:131-141
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.12.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kareiva, Peter & Tallis, Heather & Ricketts, Taylor H. & Daily, Gretchen C. & Polasky, Stephen (ed.), 2011. "Natural Capital: Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199589005.
    2. repec:eee:ecoser:v:1:y:2012:i:1:p:4-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Fisher, Brendan & Turner, R. Kerry & Morling, Paul, 2009. "Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 643-653, January.
    4. repec:eee:ecoser:v:4:y:2013:i:c:p:4-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:ecoser:v:5:y:2013:i:c:p:51-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Emily McKenzie & Stephen Posner & Patricia Tillmann & Joanna R Bernhardt & Kirsten Howard & Amy Rosenthal, 2014. "Understanding the use of ecosystem service knowledge in decision making: lessons from international experiences of spatial planning," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(2), pages 320-340, April.
    7. Emily McKenzie & Stephen Posner & Patricia Tillmann & Joanna R Bernhardt & Kirsten Howard & Amy Rosenthal, 2014. "Understanding the Use of Ecosystem Service Knowledge in Decision Making: Lessons from International Experiences of Spatial Planning," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 32(2), pages 320-340, April.
    8. repec:eee:ecoser:v:5:y:2013:i:c:p:27-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Abson, D.J. & von Wehrden, H. & Baumgärtner, S. & Fischer, J. & Hanspach, J. & Härdtle, W. & Heinrichs, H. & Klein, A.M. & Lang, D.J. & Martens, P. & Walmsley, D., 2014. "Ecosystem services as a boundary object for sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 29-37.
    10. Ruckelshaus, Mary & McKenzie, Emily & Tallis, Heather & Guerry, Anne & Daily, Gretchen & Kareiva, Peter & Polasky, Stephen & Ricketts, Taylor & Bhagabati, Nirmal & Wood, Spencer A. & Bernhardt, Joanna, 2015. "Notes from the field: Lessons learned from using ecosystem service approaches to inform real-world decisions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 11-21.
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    1. repec:eee:ecoser:v:33:y:2018:i:pa:p:68-76 is not listed on IDEAS


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