It is only at the local scales that ecosystem service modelling and mapping accurately reflects reality. Every ecosystem service comes from a complex interaction of physical, ecological and human drivers. Likewise, the way people value ecosystems is driven by a range of social, cultural and economic factors that vary significantly based on where people live.
At local scale, it is possible to build models that replicate such realities by modelling multiple interacting ecosystem services and the complex physical and human landscapes that determine value. Such models are not only important for planning, but also for making a powerful case that the generic and necessarily simplistic models built at regional or global scales have a grounding in the real world.
We also offer more detailed maps and models suitable for local planning and decision-making that combine broad-stroke data with regionally specific evidence. Over time, these fine-scaled approaches will allow us to refine and disseminate increasingly better information—creating, in effect, a large, ongoing dataset that paints a more accurate portrait of the complex role ecosystems services play in our overall well-being.