How to analyse ecosystem services in landscapes—A systematic review
Review article, 2017

Ecosystem services (ES) is a significant research topic with diverse modelling and mapping approaches. However, the variety of approaches—along with an inconsistent terminology—cause uncertainties concerning the choice of methods. This paper identifies and qualitatively assesses methods for mapping ES in terrestrial landscapes, based on a systematic review of the scientific literature. It further aims to clarify the associated terminology, in particular the concept of landscape and landscape scale. In total, 347 cases of ES mapping were identified in the reviewed papers. Regulating and maintenance services were most commonly mapped (165), followed by cultural (85), and provisioning services (73). For individual ES, a large variation in number of mapping cases was found. This variation may either reflect the perceived importance of the ES, or that different ES can be more or less easily mapped. Overall, Logical models and Empirical models were most commonly used, followed by Extrapolation, Simulation/Process models, Data integration, and Direct mapping. Only twelve percent of all ES mapping cases were validated with empirical data. The review revealed highly diverging views on the spatial extent of landscapes in studies of ES, and that the term landscape is sometimes used rather arbitrarily.


Spatial analysis

Ecosystem services



Systematic review


Oskar Englund

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Göran Berndes

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Christel Cederberg

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Ecological Indicators

1470-160X (ISSN)

Vol. 73 492-504

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use


Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Landscape Architecture

Other Environmental Engineering

Areas of Advance




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Latest update

7/5/2021 1