Mapping ecosystem services' values: Current practice and future prospects

Jan Philipp Schägner*, Luke Brander, Joachim Maes, Volkmar Hartje

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Mapping of ecosystem services' (ESS) values means valuing ESS in monetary terms across a relatively large geographical area and assessing how values vary across space. Thereby, mapping of ESS values reveals additional information as compared to traditional site-specific ESS valuation, which is beneficial for designing land use policies for maintaining ESS supply. Since the well-known article by Costanza et al. (1997), who mapped global ESS values, the number of publications mapping ESS values has grown exponentially, with almost 60% being published after 2007. Within this paper, we analyse and review articles that map ESS values. Our findings show that methodologies, in particular how spatial variations of ESS values are estimated, their spatial scope, rational and ESS focus differ widely. Still, most case studies rely on relatively simplistic approaches using land use/cover data as a proxy for ESS supply and its values. However, a tendency exists towards more sophisticated methodologies using the ESS models and value functions, which integrate a variety of spatial variables and which are validated against primary data. Based on our findings, we identify current practices and developments in the mapping of EES values and provide guidelines and recommendations for future applications and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalEcosystem Services
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Ecosystem service assessment
  • Ecosystem service mapping
  • Ecosystem service modelling
  • Ecosystem service valuation
  • Land use policy assessment
  • Value transfer


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