Ecosystem service assessments should be ‘issue-driven’. They can be done to gain new insights, to make a strong argument, to start a discussion, to help settle a negotiation, to enhance a planning process, or to reach a decision. There are many different methods for doing an assessment. Helping make sense of these methods is the reason for this Navigator.
To have a policy impact, this process is as important as the results of the assessment. In designing and planning an assessment, an initial scoping of the situation helps clarify: Who should be involved? What should be the main emphasis? What type of information is needed? Learn more about managing assessment processes.
Ecosystem services describe the benefits we derive from Nature. To assess these benefits we need to understand the 'supply side' (the ecosystem) and the 'demand side' (the socio-economic system). Why? Because knowing this context helps us to ask the right study questions and correctly interpret results. Therefore, the ValuES Methods Database hosts additional tools for understanding context, as well as assessment methods from multiple disciplines. Learn more about additional tools.
'Fitness-for-purpose' of assessment design is as important as the 'strong science' it contains. There is no universal standard for assessments, and not all methods serve all assessment purposes. So the principal purpose of an assessment needs to be clarified early on.