Integrating methods for ecosystem service assessment: Experiences from real world situations

Rob Dunford*, Paula Harrison, Alison Smith, Jan Dick, David N. Barton, Berta Martin-Lopez, Ezsther Kelemen, Sander Jacobs, Heli Saarikoski, Francis Turkelboom, Wim Verheyden, Jennifer Hauck, Paula Antunes, Réka Aszalós, Ovidu Badea, Francesc Baró, Pam Berry, Laurence Carvalho, Giulio Conte, Bálint CzúczGemma Garcia Blanco, Dave Howard, Relu Giuca, Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Bruna Grizetti, Zita Izakovicova, Leena Kopperoinen, Johannes Langemeyer, Sandra Luque, David M. Lapola, Guillermo Martinez-Pastur, Raktima Mukhopadhyay, S.B. Roy, Jari Niemelä, Lisa Norton, John Ochieng, David Odee, Ignacio Palomo, Patricia Pinho, Joerg Priess, Graciella Rusch, Sanna Riikka Saarela, Rui Santos, Jan Tjalling van der Wal, Angheluta Vadineanu, Ágnes Vári, Helen Woods, Vesa Yli-Pelkonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


The Ecosystem Services (ES) concept highlights the varied contributions the environment provides to humans and there are a wide range of methods/tools available to assess ES. However, in real-world decision contexts a single tool is rarely sufficient and methods must be combined to meet practitioner needs. Here, results from the OpenNESS project are presented to illustrate the methods selected to meet the needs of 24 real-world case studies and better understand why and how methods are combined to meet practical needs. Results showed that within the cases methods were combined to: i) address a range of ES; ii) assess both supply and demand of ES; iii) assess a range of value types; iv) reach different stakeholder groups v) cover weaknesses in other methods used and vi) to meet specific decision context needs. Methods were linked in a variety of ways: i) as input-output chains of methods; ii) through learning; iii) through method development and iv) through comparison/triangulation of results. The paper synthesises these case study-based experiences to provide insight to others working in practical contexts as to where, and in what contexts, different methods can be combined and how this can add value to case study analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-514
JournalEcosystem Services
Issue numberpt. C
Early online date15 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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