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Open-File Report 2015–1008

Land Change Science Program

Social Values for Ecosystem Services, Version 3.0 (SolVES 3.0)—Documentation and User Manual

By Benson C. Sherrouse and Darius J. Semmens

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.98 MB)Abstract

The geographic information system (GIS) tool, Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES), was developed to incorporate quantified and spatially explicit measures of social values into ecosystem service assessments. SolVES 3.0 continues to extend the functionality 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 their attitudes and preferences regarding public uses, such as motorized recreation and logging. As with previous versions, SolVES 3.0 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 3.0 is integrated with Maxent maximum entropy modeling software to generate more complete social-value maps and offer robust statistical models describing the relationship 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 methodology can be evaluated. SolVES 3.0 provides an improved 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 physical and social contexts ranging from forest and rangeland to coastal and marine.

First posted February 4, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Director, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, Mail Stop 980
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Sherrouse, B.C., and Semmens, D.J., 2015, Social values for ecosystem services, version 3.0 (SolVES 3.0)—Documentation and user manual: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1008, 65 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)





New in SolVES 3.0

SolVES 3.0 Overview

Hardware and Software Requirements


Data Requirements

Data Management

Project Setup

Analyze Survey Data

Transfer Values

View Results

Interpreting and Adjusting Maxent’s AUC Values and Variable Contributions

Digitizing Points Mapped by Survey Respondents

Advanced Options

Troubleshooting Common Errors


References Cited

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