In response to the need for incorporating quantified and spatially explicit measures of social values into ecosystem services assessments, the Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center, in collaboration with Colorado State University, has developed a geographic information system application, Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES). SolVES can be used to assess, map, and quantify the perceived social values of ecosystem services. SolVES derives a quantitative social values metric, the Value Index, from a combination of spatial and nonspatial responses to public attitude and preference surveys. SolVES also generates landscape metrics, such as average elevation and distance to water, calculated from spatial data layers describing the underlying physical environment. Using kernel density calculations and zonal statistics, SolVES derives and maps the 10-point Value Index and reports landscape metrics associated with each index value for social value types such as aesthetics, biodiversity, and recreation. This can be repeated for various survey subgroups as distinguished by their attitudes and preferences regarding public uses of the forests such as motorized recreation and logging for fuels reduction. The Value Index provides a basis of comparison within and among survey subgroups to consider the effect of social contexts on the valuation of ecosystem services. SolVES includes regression coefficients linking the predicted value (the Value Index) to landscape metrics. These coefficients are used to generate predicted social value maps using value transfer techniques for areas where primary survey data are not available. SolVES was developed, and will continue to be enhanced through future versions, as a public domain tool to enable decision makers and researchers to map the social values of ecosystem services and to facilitate discussions among diverse stakeholders regarding tradeoffs between different ecosystem services in a variety of physical and social contexts.
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Social values for ecosystem services (SolVES): A GIS application for assessing, mapping, and quantifying the social values of ecosystem services-Documentation and user manual, version 1.0