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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 readily available data in the correct format. TESSA is accessible to non-experts and conservation practitioners and collects locally-relevant data.

Other tools provide methods for scoping (e.g. the PA-BAT tool) or 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.

It is important to note that TESSA does not provide a strict formula or blueprint. Users must apply and adapt the approach and methods provided as appropriate according to the local circumstances. In this sense, TESSA is locally relevant and site-specific. 

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
Framework & Methods for multiple ES
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 $6000 per site). Includes guidance for a scoping stage and full assessment. No mapping
ARIES
Modelling of multiple ES
Quantitative
High to develop new case study locations
Yes,  through internet or can access stand-alone software
Low-High
Watersheds/ landscape
Low until global models are provided
Biophysical values can be monetised
No
Spatially explicit ES trade-off, flow and uncertainty maps
Co$ting Nature
Modelling of multiple ES
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
Ecosystem Services Toolkit Framework and guidance on methods Both Depends on the approach chosen No Depends on the approach chosen Context dependent High Depends on the approach chosen Not specified Aimed at governments, step by step framework and links to useful resources
ESR
Scoping tool
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
Modelling of multiple ES
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
Modelling of multiple ES
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
Modelling of multiple ES
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
PA-BAT Scoping tool Qualitative Moderate; forms designed for use with stakeholders in a workshop No Low Site scale / values and benefits can be aggregated across a number of sites High Descriptive benefits recorded / option to record economic information if available No Forms provided for use with stakeholders
SolVES
Modelling of multiple ES
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
Framework and guidance on methods
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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