Model ensembles of ecosystem services fill global certainty and capacity gaps

Simon Willcock, Danny A.P. Hooftman, Rachel A. Neugarten, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, José I. Barredo, Thomas Hickler, Georg Kindermann, Amy R. Lewis, Mats Lindeskog, Javier Martínez-López, James M. Bullock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Sustaining ecosystem services (ES) critical to human well-being is hindered by many practitioners lacking access to ES models (“the capacity gap”) or knowledge of the accuracy of available models (“the certainty gap”), especially in the world’s poorer regions. We developed ensembles of multiple models at an unprecedented global scale for five ES of high policy relevance. Ensembles were 2 to 14% more accurate than individual models. Ensemble accuracy was not correlated with proxies for research capacity, indicating that accuracy is distributed equitably across the globe and that countries less able to research ES suffer no accuracy penalty. By making these ES ensembles and associated accuracy estimates freely available, we provide globally consistent ES information that can support policy and decision-making in regions with low data availability or low capacity for implementing complex ES models. Thus, we hope to reduce the capacity and certainty gaps impeding local-to global-scale movement toward ES sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereadf5492
JournalScience Advances
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 7 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

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  • Journal Article


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