SolVES: Social Values of Ecosystem Services
Florida Sea Grant researchers at the University of Florida, in partnership with the United States Geological Survey’s Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center – Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program, have begun a project that uses GIS technology (SolVES modeling) to map the social values of ecosystem services in Sarasota Bay. Linking social values and the provision of ecosystem services through spatial mapping provides coastal managers with an effective and efficient tool to better understand the role of humans in the ecological seascape.
This project represents an enhancement of existing coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) by adding the missing social dimension to current methods of ecosystem service valuation. CMSP, as a comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based, and transparent process for analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean and coastal areas, requires equitable inclusion of ecologic, economic, and social considerations. Recent efforts in ecological economics have focused on monetary valuation of ecosystem services, including those provided by coastal and marine ecosystems, however, the social values inherent to ecosystem services are not captured by traditional economic measures and remain a key missing element to comprehensive assessments. The study addresses this gap through a three-part project being conducted in Sarasota Bay resulting from a partnership between the United States Geological Survey and Florida Sea Grant at the University of Florida. Final products will generate information that can be incorporated into regional spatial decision frameworks by coastal planners and resource managers.
Working with USGS partners, a project Fact Sheet was recently created to summarize the application of SolVES to Sarasota Bay, FL: A Spatial Analysis of Cultural Ecosystem Service Valuation by Regional Stakeholders in Florida—A Coastal Application of the Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) Tool
Project Lead: Zachary Cole (University of Florida)
Using an international panel of experts, through a Delphi exercise, phase one seeks to develop a comprehensive list of social values of ecosystem services and resources uses relevant to coastal and marine environments.
The second part of the study uses phase one data (social values of ecosystem services and resource uses lists) in the facilitation of participatory mapping activities. The goal for data collection is to gather information required for application in SolVES, which can provide insight into how stakeholders value Sarasota Bay resources. These mapping exercises are conducted with a wide range of Sarasota Bay stakeholders throughout the study region through an online interactive workbook.
Phase 3 – SolVES Analysis:
Phase three utilizes the data collected in the mapping workshops as input into the SolVES modeling application. This crucial step allows interested parties (such as management agencies or other stakeholders) to queue the resulting databases to produce maps representing various configurations of spatially quantified social values of ecosystem services.