Skip to main content

Guidelines for Scaling-up Ecosystem Service Values

Guidelines for Scaling-up Ecosystem Service Values

Guidelines for Scaling-up Ecosystem Service Values


Large-scale environmental valuations are usually accompanied with great methodological difficulties. The aim of this study was to develop guidelines for applying more accurate, less uncertain value transfer using spatial data in a policy-relevant scaling-up approach to large-scale geographical areas. The study results fed into a Technical Report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) that contributes to the wider TEEB initiative.


The transfer of economic values of individual ecosystem services from a particular study site to another, but similar site – the so-called policy site – has become a common tool to estimate the value of natural resources.

Another approach of transferring economic values for ecosystem services is called scaling up. In the scaling-up exercise, economic values from a particular study site (or sites) are extrapolated to a larger geographical setting, for instance to the regional, national or global level.

Objectives & Methodology

The primary objective of this study was to use the information from a gap analysis to propose effective and efficient combinations of alternative value-transfer methods for a large-scale value assessment. Evaluated value-transfer methods included unit transfer, adjusted unit transfer, value-function transfer and meta-analytic function transfer.

The study also included a try-out to test the results in a case study for the Baltic States and the Netherlands on valuing changes in wetlands and their services between 2000 and 2006, based on the updated Corine land cover database.

Final report

Together with the findings from a previous study carried out by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), the results of this study have fed into an EEA Technical Report on “Scaling Up Ecosystem Benefits”. The report can be downloaded from the EEA’s website.

Both studies have been carried out under the EEA framework contract for support on European Environmental Economic Activities (3EA).


More content from this project

Dr. Ingo Bräuer
Nataliya Stupak
Dr. Ståle Navrud
Project ID
Ecosystem services, scaling up, benefit transfer, extrapolation, environmental economics, global, nature protection