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Open-File Report 2010-1219

Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program

Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES): A GIS Application for Assessing, Mapping, and Quantifying the Social Values of Ecosystem Services—Documentation and User Manual, Version 1.0

By Benson C. Sherrouse, Jodi L. Riegle, and Darius J. Semmens

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In response to the need for incorporating quantified and spatially explicit measures of social values into ecosystem services assessments, the Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center, in collaboration with Colorado State University, has developed a geographic information system application, Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES). SolVES can be used to assess, map, and quantify the perceived social values of ecosystem services. SolVES derives a quantitative social values metric, the Value Index, from a combination of spatial and nonspatial responses to public attitude and preference surveys. SolVES also generates landscape metrics, such as average elevation and distance to water, calculated from spatial data layers describing the underlying physical environment. Using kernel density calculations and zonal statistics, SolVES derives and maps the 10-point Value Index and reports landscape metrics associated with each index value for social value types such as aesthetics, biodiversity, and recreation. This can be repeated for various survey subgroups as distinguished by their attitudes and preferences regarding public uses of the forests such as motorized recreation and logging for fuels reduction. The Value Index provides a basis of comparison within and among survey subgroups to consider the effect of social contexts on the valuation of ecosystem services. SolVES includes regression coefficients linking the predicted value (the Value Index) to landscape metrics. These coefficients are used to generate predicted social value maps using value transfer techniques for areas where primary survey data are not available. SolVES was developed, and will continue to be enhanced through future versions, as a public domain tool to enable decision makers and researchers to map the social values of ecosystem services and to facilitate discussions among diverse stakeholders regarding tradeoffs between different ecosystem services in a variety of physical and social contexts.

First posted September 14, 2010

For additional information contact:

Science Center Chief,
USGS Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center
Box 25046, Mail Stop 516
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Sherrouse, B.C., Riegle, J.L., and Semmens, D.J., 2010, Social values for ecosystem services (SolVES): A GIS application for assessing, mapping, and quantifying the social values of ecosystem services—Documentation and user manual, version 1.0: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1219, 44 p.





SolVES Overview

Hardware and Software Requirements


Adding SolVES Toolbar to ArcMap

Data Installation
Data Requirements

Landscape Data

Survey Data

Other Spatial Data
File Management
Directory Structure

Source File Geodatabase Format

Importing and Loading Data to the Source File Geodatabase

Intermediate and Final Output

Project Setup

Ecosystem Services Social Values Model

Value Mapping Model

Value Transfer Mapping Model

Advanced Options

Adding or Changing Regression Coefficients


Error Messages


References Cited

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