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.
Table developed from Peh et al. (2013) and Bagstad et al. (2014)
Qualitative / Quantitative
Specialist software needed
Specialise technical knowledge required
Unit of valuation
|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
Go back to the Assessing ecosystem services - TESSA