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Social Values for Ecosystem Services, version 4.0 (SolVES 4.0)—Documentation and user manual

September 1, 2020

The geographic information system tool, Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES), was developed to incorporate quantified and spatially explicit measures of social values into ecosystem service assessments. SolVES 4.0 provides an open-source version of SolVES, which was designed to assess, map, and quantify the social values of ecosystem services. Social values—the perceived, nonmarket values the public ascribes to ecosystem services, particularly cultural services, such as aesthetics and recreation—can be evaluated for various stakeholder groups. These groups are distinguishable by factors such as their attitudes and preferences regarding public uses (for example, motorized recreation and logging). As with previous versions, SolVES 4.0 derives a quantitative 10-point, social-values metric—the value index—from a combination of spatial and nonspatial responses to public value and preference surveys. The tool also calculates metrics characterizing the underlying environment, such as average distance to water and dominant landcover. SolVES 4.0 has been developed with Python using a QGIS user interface and a PostgreSQL database for required data. SolVES is integrated with Maxent maximum entropy modeling software to generate more complete social-value maps and offer robust statistical models describing the relation between the value index and explanatory environmental variables. A model’s goodness of fit to a primary study area and its potential performance in transferring social values to similar areas using value-transfer methods can be evaluated. SolVES 4.0 provides an improved open-source, public-domain tool for decision makers and researchers to evaluate the social values of ecosystem services and to facilitate discussions among diverse stakeholders regarding the tradeoffs among ecosystem services in a variety of biophysical and social contexts including mountain, forest, coastal, riparian, agricultural, and urban environments around the globe.

Publication Year 2020
Title Social Values for Ecosystem Services, version 4.0 (SolVES 4.0)—Documentation and user manual
DOI 10.3133/tm7C25
Authors Benson C. Sherrouse, Darius J. Semmens
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Techniques and Methods
Series Number 7-C25
Index ID tm7C25
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center