Despite widespread recognition that social-value information is needed to inform stakeholders and decision makers regarding trade-offs in environmental management, it too often remains absent from ecosystem service assessments. Although quantitative indicators of social values need to be explicitly accounted for in the decision-making process, they need not be monetary. Ongoing efforts to map such values demonstrate how they can also be made spatially explicit and relatable to underlying ecological information. We originally developed Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) as a tool to assess, map, and quantify nonmarket values perceived by various groups of ecosystem stakeholders. With SolVES 2.0 we have extended the functionality by integrating SolVES with Maxent maximum entropy modeling software to generate more complete social-value maps from available value and preference survey data and to produce more robust models describing the relationship between social values and ecosystems. The current study has two objectives: (1) evaluate how effectively the value index, a quantitative, nonmonetary social-value indicator calculated by SolVES, reproduces results from more common statistical methods of social-survey data analysis and (2) examine how the spatial results produced by SolVES provide additional information that could be used by managers and stakeholders to better understand more complex relationships among stakeholder values, attitudes, and preferences. To achieve these objectives, we applied SolVES to value and preference survey data collected for three national forests, the Pike and San Isabel in Colorado and the Bridger–Teton and the Shoshone in Wyoming. Value index results were generally consistent with results found through more common statistical analyses of the survey data such as frequency, discriminant function, and correlation analyses. In addition, spatial analysis of the social-value maps produced by SolVES provided information that was useful for explaining relationships between stakeholder values and forest uses. Our results suggest that SolVES can effectively reproduce information derived from traditional statistical analyses while adding spatially explicit, social-value information that can contribute to integrated resource assessment, planning, and management of forests and other ecosystems.
Additional publication details
An application of Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) to three national forests in Colorado and Wyoming
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center