Land Allocation Models Review

Review and Comparison of Models used for Land Allocation and Nature Valuation

This is the final report for Phase 1 of the Land Allocation Models Project, which was supported by the Valuing Nature Programme and funded through the Landscape Decisions: Towards a new framework for using land assets Programme1.  It reviews existing land allocation models (here after described as Ecosystem Service Tools) in the published scientific literature, and their capability to meet requirements of key stakeholders. 

Download Report here

The aims of the work were:

1. To bring together in one place a synthesis of what is available in terms of ecosystem service tools, and to produce a user-friendly guide of their strengths and weaknesses.

2. To select a range of ecosystem service tools and understand the assumptions behind the selected tools.

3. To assess the shortlisted tools to understand the compatibility of these tools with identified user needs from the review of Amy Binner.

4. To scope Phase 2 of the project:

  • Suggest which ecosystem service tools could be tested in real case studies;
  • Suggest potential datasets and case studies that could be used to test these tools;
  • Gauge interest from modelling / data teams, and estimate costs for participating in a model data comparison exercise; and
  • Scope an outline for the model inter-comparison, modelling protocol, suggested metrics for comparison and proposed analysis of outcomes, and propose a timescale for Phase 2.

The tools included in this study are those mostly shortlisted in previous studies and those that focus on multiple ecosystem services. In the first stage, nine ecosystem service tools (ES tools) were reviewed, including InVEST, LUCI, ARIES, TIM/NEVO, Co$ting Nature, EcoServ-GIS, NCPT, Eco-metric approach and The Land Choices Guide.  Based on advise from members of the Project advisory groups on the key model-user needs, 6 tools/approaches where selected for in-depth review, i.e. InVEST, LUCI, NEVO, Natural Capital Planning Tool, the Ecometric approach and The Land Choices Guide. These tools/approaches will be road-tested in phase 2 of the project.

The authors of the report are Dali Rani Nayak & Pete Smith of the University of Aberdeen 


1Landscape Decisions: Towards a new framework for using land assets Programme, is supported on behalf of UKRI by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is funded through the Strategic Priorities Fund.