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Computational Models

InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs)

To better estimate various ecosystem services and understand the tradeoffs among them, we are relying in part on the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) model. This suite of tools has been developed over several years by the Natural Capital Project, a joint venture of Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund. The model has been designed as set of Python extensions to ArcGIS software, and is freely available, though access to ArcGIS is required. It includes modules for estimating numerous ecosystem services. We will be using InVEST to estimate biodiversity, water yield, sediment retention, nutrient retention, timber yield, and carbon sequestration under various land cover and climate scenarios. InVEST outputs will then be compared to estimates derived via other methods, including our own fieldwork, the Nutrient Tracking Tool, and ecosystems service benefits transfer estimation using the Earth Economics database.

 

SWAT (Soil & Water Assessment Tool)

SWAT is a river basin scale model developed to quantify the impact of land management practices in large, complex watersheds. We will develop SWAT models for the watersheds comprising the study area, primarily for use in validating and calibrating the InVEST hydrologic models. When well calibrated, SWAT's nutrient estimation functions are quite robust, and InVEST outputs will be compared to SWAT outputs at numerous points in the watersheds.

 

WET-Temp (Watershed Evaluation Tool – Temperature)

Water temperature is a major concern in our study area because its threatened salmonid species are vulnerable to high water temperatures. To better estimate water temperature, and the ecosystem service of water cooling provided by mature riparian vegetation, John Lambrinos and his research team will be running WET-Temp for the study area under various climate and land use scenarios.

 

Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT)

The NTT couples the rigorous APEX (Agricultural Policy / Environmental eXtender) model with a web-based interface that allows users to estimate Nitrogen, Phosphorus, sediment, and yield savings from various agricultural practices. We will use this tool to estimatethese variables on our sample sites, and the values can be compared to the outputs from the InVEST nutrient and sediment retention modules.