Ecosystem services can be split into two distinct categories: place-based services and water-flow services. Place-based services can be assessed adequately using straight-forward GIS (geographic information system) data overlays and rule bases, as such benefits accrue where the habitats are located. Water-flow services, on the other hand, deliver benefits downstream from the habitats that provide them. This means that GIS has to be integrated with complex, hydrological modelling to identify optimal solutions. Standard ‘opportunity mapping' using GIS data and rules will give inefficient, misleading or possibly damaging outputs.
This UK company has developed a way of modelling ecosystem-aware, water-flow solutions mathematically, leading the sector in this innovation.
The company have specific expertise in modelling and mapping ecosystem services, especially those involving water. They use complex algorithms and state-of-the-art methods to show what interventions should be done and where to do them to meet client aspirations. Applications include:
1. Understanding current landscape function. This allows risk-rating of fields, allowing reverse auctions or other agri-environment payments to be weighted to ensure maximum ROI.
2. Prioritising new interventions. The algorithms rank all potential, natural interventions across entire regions for how effective they will be at solving local problems. This help target the right interventions in the right places to protect farms against climate change, improve water resource supplies and enhance resilience of the landscape system.
3. Identify the most efficient places to create reservoirs or ponds. Identifying where capturing water for irrigation is likely to require least engineering, whilst also reducing flood and erosion risks.
4. Combining model outputs with other data to identify nature-based solutions to groundwater problems.
5. Qualifying or quantifying the benefits.
They are seeking a range of partners that might benefit from their modelling, including but not limited to, government rural departments, farmers, agri-tech, landscape planners, water supply boards and companies working in flood management, to adapt their technology towards new solutions via commercial agreement with technical assistance. The company will support the partner in adapting their software to the client's specific eco-system and provide ongoing technical assistance.