With growing pressures on ecosystem services, social values attributed to them are increasingly important to land management decisions. Social values, defined here as perceived values the public ascribes to ecosystem services, particularly cultural services, are generally not accounted for through economic markets or considered alongside economic and ecological values in ecosystem service assessments. Social-values data can be elicited through public value and preference surveys; however, limitations prevent them from being regularly collected. These limitations led to our three study objectives: (1) demonstrate an approach for applying benefit transfer, a nonmarket-valuation method, to spatially explicit social values; (2) validate the approach; and (3) identify potential improvements. We applied Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) to survey data for three national forests in Colorado and Wyoming. Social-value maps and models were generated, describing relationships between the maps and various combinations of environmental variables. Models from each forest were used to estimate social-value maps for the other forests via benefit transfer. Model performance was evaluated relative to the locally derived models. Performance varied with the number and type of environmental variables used, as well as differences in the forests' physical and social contexts. Enhanced metadata and better social-context matching could improve model transferability.
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Validating a method for transferring social values of ecosystem services between public lands in the Rocky Mountain region
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
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Bridger-teton Nation Forest;Pike And San Isabel National Forests;Rocky Mountains;Shoshone National Forest