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Service Path Attribution Networks (SPANs): A Network Flow Approach to Ecosystem Service Assessment

Gary W. Johnson, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Robert R. Snapp and Ferdinando Villa
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Gary W. Johnson: University of Vermont, USA
Kenneth J. Bagstad: University of Vermont, USA
Robert R. Snapp: University of Vermont, USA
Ferdinando Villa: University of Vermont, USA

International Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Information Systems (IJAEIS), 2012, vol. 3, issue 2, 54-71

Abstract: Ecosystem services are the effects on human well-being of the flow of benefits from ecosystems to people over given extents of space and time. The Service Path Attribution Network (SPAN) model provides a spatial framework for determining the topology and strength of these flows and identifies the human and ecological features which give rise to them. As an aid to decision-making, this approach discovers dependencies between provision and usage endpoints, spatial competition among users for scarce resources, and areas of highest likely impact on ecosystem service flows. Particularly novel is the model’s ability to quantify services provided by the absence of a flow. SPAN models have been developed for a number of services (scenic views, proximity to open space, carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, nutrient cycling, and avoided sedimentation/deposition), which vary in scale of effect, mechanism of provision and use, and type of flow. Results using real world data are shown for the US Puget Sound region.

Date: 2012
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