Social values for ecosystem services (SolVES): Documentation and user manual, version 2.0

Open-File Report 2012-1023

Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program, in collaboration with Colorado State University



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 (RMGSC), in collaboration with Colorado State University, developed a geographic information system (GIS) application, Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES). With version 2.0 (SolVES 2.0), RMGSC has improved and extended the functionality of SolVES, which was designed to assess, map, and quantify the perceived social values of ecosystem services. Social values such as aesthetics, biodiversity, and recreation can be evaluated for various stakeholder groups as distinguished by their attitudes and preferences regarding public uses, such as motorized recreation and logging. As with the previous version, SolVES 2.0 derives a quantitative, 10-point, social-values metric, the Value Index, from a combination of spatial and nonspatial responses to public attitude and preference surveys and calculates metrics characterizing the underlying environment, such as average distance to water and dominant landcover. Additionally, SolVES 2.0 integrates Maxent maximum entropy modeling software to generate more complete social value maps and to produce robust statistical models describing the relationship between the social values maps and explanatory environmental variables. The performance of these models can be evaluated for a primary study area, as well as for similar areas where primary survey data are not available but where social value mapping could potentially be completed using value-transfer methodology. SolVES 2.0 also introduces the flexibility for users to define their own social values and public uses, model any number and type of environmental variable, and modify the spatial resolution of analysis. With these enhancements, SolVES 2.0 provides an improved public domain tool for decisionmakers and researchers to evaluate the social values of ecosystem services and to facilitate discussions among diverse stakeholders regarding the tradeoffs among different ecosystem services in a variety of physical and social contexts ranging from forest and rangeland to coastal and marine.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Social values for ecosystem services (SolVES): Documentation and user manual, version 2.0
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center
vi, 55 p.; Downloadable GIS - SolVES 2.0
Online Only (Y/N):