Thrust Areas Ecosystem Water Institute Classification Level
Water, Land Use and Ecosystems Water and Climate Water and Society Water Resources Sustainability Springs Wetlands Watersheds Aquifers Lakes Coastal Zone  Water Institute Classification 1  Water Institute Classification 2  Water Institute Classification 3  Water Institute Classification 4

Modeling Social Values of Ecosystem Services in a Coastal Environment
Goals and Objectives
Livelihoods and lifestyles of people throughout the world depend on a great number of essential benefits provided by nature, called ecosystem services. In the coastal zone, as societal demand increases and available ocean and coastal space diminishes, better methods are needed to balance competing ocean and coastal activities such as shipping, energy production, tourism, and fishing while protecting ecosystem services. Economic value is one important measure for doing so, but some benefits that people obtain from the environment, such as creative inspiration, spiritual enrichment, and reflection, often cannot be quantified by this method. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey are working collaboratively with the Florida Sea Grant College Program to quantify and map these cultural ecosystem services as perceived by the 600,000 residents in Sarasota Bay, Fla., a rich coastal lagoon system in the Gulf of Mexico. Project leaders are using a public domain tool developed by the USGS called SolVES, short for Social Values for Ecosystem Services. SolVES is a geographic information system application that helps assess, map and quantify environmental benefits to people. One goal of the project is to integrate research results with coastal and marine spatial planning applications ( to help coastal planners and community leaders in their daily efforts to manage coastal environments so they are protected from damage. Using information about the attitudes and preferences of people toward places and uses along the coast the USGS SolVES 2.0 tool will provide quantitative models to relate social values assigned to locations by survey respondents with the underlying environmental characteristics of those same locations. Project results will increase scientific and geographic knowledge of how Sarasota Bay residents value their area’s cultural ecosystem services.
Available Outputs

Title: A Spatial Analysis of Cultural Ecosystem Service Valuation by Regional Stakeholders in Florida - A Coastal Application of the Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SoIVES) Tool
Authors: Coffin, W., R.A. Swett, Z.D. Cole
Project Lead
Swett, Robert Alphonso
Project Participants
Swett, Robert Alphonso
Additional Participants
Alisa Coffin
Zazhary Cole
Coastal Zones
Level 1: WI Affiliated Faculty Project
Water and Society
Water, Land Use and Ecosystems
Partner Name(s)
Sea Grant Florida
US Geological Service
Grant Award Dates
8/15/2011 to 1/14/2013