EcoService Models Library (ESML)

About EGS classification systems

To identify which ecosystem goods and services (EGSs) could potentially be modeled using a given EM, ESML links each EM to particular EGSs using two different EGS classification schemes: CICES and NESCS Plus. 

CICES.  The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services, developed under auspices of the European Environment Agency, is organized according to the nature of the benefit that humans receive; for example, the first (i.e., Section) level of the CICES hierarchy distinguishes provisioning, regulation-maintenance and cultural services; provisioning services are further subdivided (by Division) into nutrition, materials and energy – and so on.  The four CICES hierarchical levels used by ESML are Section, Division, Group and Class. The EGSs described by CICES include both final and intermediate goods and services.  Read more about CICES.

NESCS Plus.  The National Ecosystem Services Classification System Plus, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, includes only final ecosystem goods or services, or FEGS.  The classification approach for the supply of these FEGS (NESCS-Supply, or NESCS-S) focuses first on the type of environment where the FEGS is provided and second on the biophysical nature of the FEGS produced (not the kind of benefit derived from it).  The four NESCS hierarchical levels used by ESML are Environmental Class, Environmental Sub-Class, End Product Class and End Product Sub-Class.  Finally, a modifier is appended to address the specific aspect of the FEGS that the EM may be able to estimate (i.e., Stock Indicator, Flow Indicator, Quality Indicator, Site Indicator, Extreme Event Indicator).  Read more about NESCS Plus.