The production, flow, and consumption of ecosystem goods and services is geographically complex. This project seeks to quantify ecosystem service flows.
When economic decisions lack full information about stakeholders, costs, and benefits, they are more likely to produce socially inefficient outcomes. The recent state of the practice—static maps of ecosystem service provision—fails to account for spatial flows of ecosystem services from ecosystems to their human beneficiaries. A more realistic and policy-relevant approach to ecosystem services assessment would start by mapping ecosystem services production and beneficiaries and then accounting for the spatial flow of benefits from ecosystems to people. Three case study sites provide opportunities to model ecosystem service flows in the context of public land management: the San Pedro River in southeast Arizona, Puget Sound in Washington State, and the Southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This project applies and builds on the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES) modeling framework, which is developing a web-based tool to probabilistically model and quantify services and their spatial flows. The ARIES modeling system links appropriate GIS data to probabilistic or deterministic models that quantify supply and demand for services, as well as the strength of landscape features that deplete the physical, energetic, or informational "carrier" of that specific service. Agent-based models are then used to determine the actual flow path and quantity of a service received by spatially explicit human beneficiary groups. These results can then be paired with social values data generated using the Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) tool to understand areas that are important to maintaining biophysical flows of ecosystem services and areas that are valued by the public, in support of resource management on public lands.