How TESSA is different from other tools

To date, much of the work developing ecosystem services tools has been either global or regional, often producing maps that are too coarse in resolution to be useful at the local scale. TESSA focuses on the site scale (predominantly gathering real field measurements, rather than relying on theoretical scenarios or extrapolations from global models) to respond to the need to generate information on ecosystem service values using locally gathered information at particular protected areas, sites of biodiversity importance or project locations. This makes it relevant for local decision-making and, when scaled up, for wider communication.

Computer-based tools such as InVEST (developed by the Natural Capital Project), require much greater technical skill and resources and are designed more for the academic user. TESSA is accessible to non-experts and conservation practitioners for application on the ground.

Other tools provide overarching frameworks for considering how to incorporate information on ecosystem services into management planning (e.g. the Wetland Resources Action Planning (WRAP) Toolkit developed by IUCN) or business operations (e.g. the Corporate Ecosystem Valuation tool developed by WBCSD) but lack specific methods for quantifying services.

Household surveys in Rara National Park, Nepal. Photo: David Thomas

 

A comparison of TESSA with other widely available tools.

Table developed from Peh et al. (2013) and Bagstad et al. (2014)

Tool

Qualitative /  Quantitative 

Time requirements

Specialist software needed

Specialise technical knowledge required

Scalability

Generalizability

Unit of valuation 

Comparative approach

Affordability

key points

TESSA
Qualitative and Quantitative
Relatively low to support field visits and data analysis. Average time spent 3 person months
No. Designed for independent use by non-experts
Low
Site scale
Low to moderate. Methods designed to be adapted to context
Yes, includes advice and guidance for both monetary and nonmonetary valuation
Yes
Useful for work at the site-scale or across sites. Low cost (average $6000 per site). Includes guidance for a scoping stage and full assessment. No mapping
ARIES
Quantitative
High to develop new case study locations
Yes,  through internet or can access stand-alone software
Low-High
Watersheds/ landscape
Low until global models are provided
Biophysical values can be monetised
No
Spatially explicit ES trade-off, flow and uncertainty maps
CEV
Qualitative with limited guidance on quantitative approaches
High
No, but advised to contract an environmental economist for ES assessment
Yes
Depends on methods used, no advice given
Low since the approach is designed for corporate use
Lists a number of economic approaches
No
Expensive, aimed at corporates
Co$ting Nature
Quantitative
Low
Yes, but freely available online and runs through a server
Low
Landscape
High
Outputs indexed, bundled ES values provided
Yes (optional)
Rapid analysis of bundled services and conservation priority maps
EcoAIM
Quantitative
Relatively low for mapping but more for nonmonetary valuation
No
Moderate-High
Watersheds/ landscape
High
Incorporates stakeholder preferences via modified risk
No
Spatially explicit ES trade-off maps
EcoMetrix
Quantitative
Relatively low to support field visits and data analysis
No
Low-Moderate
Site scale
High, where ecological production functions are used
Designed as  a credit calculator, no economic valuation
Yes
One method for  site- scale ecosystem services assessment
ESR
Qualitative
Low,  depending on stakeholder involvement in the survey process
Yes
Low-Moderate
Multiple scales
High
No valuation
Possible
Most useful as  a low-cost screening tool
InVEST
Quantitative
Moderate to high, depending on data availability and support modelling. Models can be time consuming to parameterize
Yes
High
Watersheds/ landscape
High, though limited by data availability
Biophysical values as first step that can be monetised as second step
Yes
Spatially explicit, provides information on trade-offs
LUCI
Quantitative
Moderate; tool designed for simplicity and transparency with stakeholder engagement
Yes,  though website
Low-Moderate
Multiple scales but not global
Relatively high
Currently illustrates trade-offs but no valuation
Yes
Spatially explicit ES trade-off maps designed to be intuitive to use/interpret
MIMES
Quantitative
High to develop and apply new case studies
Yes,  SIMILE modelling software is needed
High
Multiple scales
Low until global models are provided
Monetary
Yes
Dynamic modeling and valuation - currently time consuming to run
SolVES
Quantitative
High if primary surveys are required, low if transfer approach is used
Yes – downloadable
Moderate
Watersheds/ landscape
Low
Nonmonetary preferences of relative values for stakeholders
No
Provides maps of social values for ES
WRAP
Qualitative and Quantitative
Moderate to high due to extensive stakeholder engagement approach and policy targeting
No
Inter-disciplinary team needed
Site scale / watersheds
Low
Not specified as ES valuation methods not included.
No
Designed to develop management plans at sites by  incorporating data on ES, livelihoods and policy drivers

 

 

Bagstad, K.J., D. Semmens, S. Waage, and R. Winthrop. 2013. A comparative assessment of tools for ecosystem services quantification and valuation. Ecosystem Services 5: 27-39

Peh et al. (2013) TESSA: A toolkit for rapid assessment of ecosystem services at sites of biodiversity conservation importance Ecosystem Services 5: 51-57

 

 

 

 

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