Ecosystem Services

Massachusetts Ecosystem Services Tradeoff Project

Cummulative Use
A map depicting high and low cummulative use areas in Massachusetts Bay.
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SeaPlan is a partnership organization that “works to foster resilient ocean ecosystems so they can provide the goods, services and sustainable economies we all want and need.” SeaPlan supports ecosystem-based marine spatial planning that uses science as its foundation, dynamic decision making tools to inform decision making and management options, and includes a community of partners to foster the social capital required for meaningful change (Massachusetts Ocean Partnership, 2010).

In response to SeaPlans’s Request for Proposals for “Spatial Modeling and Decision Support in Support of Integrated Multi-Use Management in Massachusetts,” a research team at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) proposed a project of spatial data integration, modeling, and decision tool programming that would support integrated multi-use ocean management for Massachusetts based on the economic value of certain key services provided by marine ecosystems. This project is being completed through the work of a number of collaborating institutions including NCEAS, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Boston University, The University of New Hampshire, SeaPlan, and the New England Aquarium (National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis & Boston University [NCEAS & BU], 2009).

MIDAS user interface.
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The overall goal is to provide SeaPlan with a cost effective approach of ecosystem service quantification, valuation, and tradeoff analysis in support of an integrated and ecosystem based management of the Massachusetts coastal ocean (NCEAS & BU, 2009). Generally speaking, it will determine how to best manage the area based on the economic value provided by ecosystem services in lieu of other ocean uses. The first step was to identify priority ocean uses and the ecosystem services from which they benefit. Models were then developed for the valuation of those ecosystem services using a Multi-scale Integrated Models of Ecosystem Services (MIMES) model with ecosystem services as output parameters. Outputs from MIMES are then incorporated into a Marine Integrated Decision Analysis System (MIDAS). MIDAS is a user-friendly simulation interface that was originally developed to provide a way to transfer knowledge about policy trade-offs from scientists to stakeholders as well as allow managers to input different parameter values for their local area and visualize the consequences of different management and use scenarios. Here it allows takeholders tied to Massachusetts state waters to spatially and temporally evaluate ocean use tradeoffs and their intensities, calculate different tradeoff functions in terms of alternative ecosystem service yields, as well as determine the consequences of alternative decision management and use scenarios (NCEAS & BU, 2009).

The New England Aquarium's GIS Group's role in this project supports these two modeling efforts by creating and maintaining the geospatial database of all project data needs as well as processing the needed input data to appropriate formats.

-For additional information on this project, visit SeaPlan's Ecosystem Services Tradeoff Modeling webpage.

-Learn more about how MIDAS was used in this projct.

-Learn more about how MIMES was used in this projct.

Please check back for updates as this project progresses.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis & Boston University (2009). Ecosystem Service Modeling, Valuation, and Tradeoff Analyses in Support of Integrated Multi-Use Ocean Management in Massachusetts (Scope of work).

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