Ecosystem Services Valuation Pilot Study

Science Center Objects

This project will use newly-collected data on human use and values, paired with existing ecological data and open source software tools to map what, where, and how people value the Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina (CALO) landscape for a variety of different social value types. In addition, we will model and map biophysical features, the provision and use of key ecosystem services, the economic value they generate for local communities, and how that value flows from ecosystems to people. We will explore how economic values of ecosystems compare with reported social values, and how this information can inform management decisions. The quantitative information on the human dimensions of public lands management that we propose to develop can support a wide range of management problems, such as conflict resolution, public access, carrying capacity, ecological restoration and land use adjacent to national parks.

A Task of the Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation project.


Resource management plans are used throughout the National Park Service to ensure that parks, managers, and stakeholders share a clear understanding of resource condition opportunities for visitor experiences, administrative and other management access, and infrastructure development that will best achieve a park's purpose and conserve its resources unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. Park managers often don't have the information needed to balance tradeoffs between resource conditions and visitor experience. Spatially explicit data for ecosystem services and social values, while rarely available to support park management, could provide valuable information to these processes.

Screenshot of Ecosystem Services Valuation Pilot Study questionnaire

Questionnaire and map for social values mapping at Cape Lookout National Seashore. Respondents allocate preference points across cultural ecosystem service types, then place points on the map to correspond to locations they value. The SolVES modeling tool uses these data to generate maps of cultural ecosystem services.