Review and Comparison of Models used for Land Allocation and Nature Valuation

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This report reviews existing land allocation models (here after described as Ecosystem Service Tools) in the published scientific literature, and their capability to meet requirements of key stakeholders. This work builds upon Dr Amy Binner’s work on core user’s needs across the DEFRA group around spatial decision support tools (2016) and other previous reviews on natural capital tools including the review by DEFRA, Bagstad et al. (2013), ADAS report to Committee of Climate Change (2016), Sharps et al. (2017), and the NatCap Tools Workshop Report (2018). The tools included in this study are those mostly shortlisted in previous studies and those that focus on multiple ecosystem services. In the first stage, nine ecosystem service tools (ES tools) were reviewed, including InVEST, LUCI, ARIES, TIM/NEVO, Co$ting Nature, EcoServ-GIS, NCPT, Eco-metric approach and The Land Choices Guide. Feedback from stakeholder group members and steering group members showed water quantity and quality, open data, supporting guidance to analyse and interpret output, linking climate change to ES, multiple ecosystem services, opportunity mapping and outdoor recreation, as the most important user needs. All the above-mentioned ES tools were assessed for all the previously identified user’s needs (Binner, 2016) and are summarised in the report. A few of the above-listed ES tools were selected for road-testing with real-world case studies, which will follow as Phase 2 of this research. The aim in this study was to compare ES tools of differing complexity and to assess their ability to be applied across multiple scales (e.g. site to region to national level). For implementation during the second stage of this research, 6 tools/approaches for in-depth review and road-testing were selected, i.e. InVEST, LUCI, NEVO, Natural Capital Planning Tool, the Ecometric approach and The Land Choices Guide. If time and resources are available, other widely-used tools could be included in the second phase. Strengths and weaknesses of these ES tools, data requirements, approaches, and outputs are summarised in this report. A few of the shortlisted ES tools are still under development or at piloting stage, so details for these tools are still not available for this report. However, the intention was to include as much information available in the public domain. Case studies were identified through consultation with Stakeholders and Steering Group members. The identification of ES tools, as well as, case studies reported here, provides the background for Phase 2 of the work. Phase 2 will deliver a model inter-comparison study for selected metrics using case studies identified in this study and above listed six ES tools and approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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