The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Error propagation associated with benefits transfer-based mapping of ecosystem services

Eigenbrod, Felix, Armsworth, Paul R., Anderson, Barbara J., Heinemeyer, Andreas, Gillings, Simon, Roy, David B., Thomas, Chris D. and Gaston, Kevin J. (2010) Error propagation associated with benefits transfer-based mapping of ecosystem services Biological Conservation, 143, (11), pp. 2487-2493. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2010.06.015).

Record type: Article


An increasing number of studies are taking the important first step in global efforts to conserve key ecosystem services by mapping their spatial distributions. However, a lack of primary data for most services in most places has largely forced such mapping exercises to be based on proxies. The common way of producing these proxies is through benefits transfer-based mapping, in which estimates of the values of services are obtained from a small region for particular land cover types, and then extrapolated to a larger area for these same types. However, the errors that may result from such extrapolations are poorly understood. Here, we separate the generalization errors associated with benefits transfer mapping into three constituent components – uniformity, sampling, and regionalization error – and evaluate their effects using primary data for four ecosystem services in England. Variation in ecosystem services within a particular land cover type (uniformity error) alone led to a poor fit to primary data for most services; sampling effects (sampling error) and extrapolating from a small region to a larger area (regionalization error) led to substantial, but highly variable, additional reductions in the fit to primary data. We also show that combining multiple ecosystem services into a single layer is likely to be even more problematic as it contains the errors in each of the constituent layers. These errors are sufficiently large to undermine decisions that might be based on such extrapolated maps. Greatly improved mapping of the actual distributions of ecosystem services is therefore needed to achieve the goal of conserving these vital assets

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: November 2010
Keywords: biodiversity, carbon, natural capital, sustainability, spatial value transfer, britain


Local EPrints ID: 181345
ISSN: 0006-3207
PURE UUID: 66cb9d9e-22ce-4e6c-8dc8-871a6507a96d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Apr 2011 10:55
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:59

Export record



Author: Felix Eigenbrod
Author: Paul R. Armsworth
Author: Barbara J. Anderson
Author: Andreas Heinemeyer
Author: Simon Gillings
Author: David B. Roy
Author: Chris D. Thomas
Author: Kevin J. Gaston

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.