Mapping Ecosystem Services to Human well-being (MESH) is an integrative modelling platform that calculates and maps ecosystem service supply under different landscape management scenarios. It is currently in a beta development state, so please check our forums to report bugs and give feedback as we move towards the full MESH 1.0 release in 2016.

What is MESH?

Mapping Ecosystem Services to Human well-being is an integrative modelling platform that calculates and maps ecosystem service supply under different landscape management scenarios. MESH has built-in scenario generation tools, multiple ecosystem service supply evaluation, visualization of output maps and automated reprogramming functionalities.
MESH runs on a backbone of InVEST toolkit models but can also run on other user-installed ecosystem service models. With simultaneous calculation of multiple ecosystem service values across multiple user-created scenarios, MESH allows for simple and quick comparison of trade-­offs between ecosystem services both within and between landscape management scenarios. Click here to download a fact sheet.


How it works

MESH takes a five-step approach to guide users through the trade-off analysis process. Starting with an identified land management or infrastructure decision context, users 1) define key parameters of potential land change; 2) use a variety of built-in scenario-generation tools to develop alternative investment scenarios (these can also be imported as user-­defined LULC files); 3) select ecosystem service models from the built-in suite of InVEST models or other user-­installed models to estimate ecosystem service dynamics in each scenario; 4) simultaneously run selected ES models across all defined scenarios; and 5) visualize outputted maps of ecosystem supply in its built-­in map-­viewer and ready-­made report-­generator to help users see and understand outputs of the models.
MESH can run either on global datasets where local data is not available or user-­provided datasets for finer scale studies and/or specific contexts. Pilot studies in the Volta Basin will be used to test and validate the accuracy and utility of MESH in decision-­making and feedback into model improvements.




Mapping Ecosystem Services to Human well-being for the Sustainable Development Goals

Ecosystem services make important contributions to peoples’ livelihoods, especially in rural areas where services are often directly consumed or integral to production systems. However, the common practice of using economic valuation to measure this contribution poorly captures their impact on peoples’ well-­being in areas where markets are weak or non-­ existent. More relevant valuation of ecosystem services for human well-­being could be captured in their contribution to livelihood and development targets embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

MESH-­SDG is an extension plug-­in under development that will generate outputs and indicators of ecosystem service provision that are specific to targets in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. MESH-­SDG will be designed to populate values for up to twelve SDG-­relevant indicators (see Figure 2) that are grounded in ecosystem science and include novel evaluation measures for natural capital. These outputs will provide a basis for making comparisons of progress towards multiple national SDG targets across different scenarios of ecosystem change, for example, arising from land-­use planning or investment decisions.

Ecosystem changes can be linked to some SDGs more readily than others. We consider only those SDG targets where scientific evidence for linkages between ecosystem change and the target is convincing. MESH-­SDG will link ecosystem change to six SDGs: food security (SDG2), health (SDG3), water (SDG6), sustainable cities (SDG11), climate (SDG 13), and conservation of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG15). These indicators were developed through collaborative research and stakeholder consultation.

MESH-­SDG outputs provide automatically-generated technical and executive summary reports tailored to user-­selected scenarios. The reports display and synthesize the ecosystem service trade-­offs in terms of SDG relevant metrics for easy comprehension and decision-­making by policy makers.



This project was developed as a collaboration amongst: