MESH and MESH-SDG

Mapping Ecosystem Services to Human well-being – MESH – is an ecosystem service assessment and mapping toolkit developed by Bioversity International, CGIAR and the Natural Capital Project in support of a Science for Nature and People (SNAP) project on ‘Making Ecosystems Count in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)’. MESH calculates and maps ecosystem service supply under different landscape management scenarios. MESH has built-in scenario generation tools, multiple ecosystem service supply evaluation, visualization of output maps and automated reprogramming functionalities. 

MESH is a software tool written in Python. MESH runs on a backbone of InVEST toolkit models but can also run on other user-installed ecosystem service models. With simultaneous calculation of multiple ecosystem service values across multiple user-created scenarios, MESH allows for simple and quick comparison of trade-­offs between ecosystem services both within and between landscape management scenarios.  

Link MESH: https://naturalcapitalproject.stanford.edu/software/mesh  

Link MESH-SDG: https://github.com/skatejones/MESH_SDG  

Funding and implementation partners

NCEAS, Science for People and Nature, and the Natural Capital Project. 

Geographic area

MESH is applicable at the landscape level (e.g. basin, community, national) anywhere in the world using freely available global datasets or higher resolution local ones if they are available. 

Results achieved

Researchers use MESH to understand potential synergies and trade-offs between ecosystem services and their users, as agriculture expands, intensifies, diversifies, or as non-agricultural land uses and/or management changes. The results can help guide and integrate agricultural, development and environmental conservation planning.  Currently five ecosystem services are modelled by MESH: 

  • Carbon Storage and Sequestration (tonnes/ha/yr) 
  • Erosion control (sediment retention, tonnes/yr) 
  • Water Provision (M3/yr) 
  • Water Quality (avoided nitrogen export, kg/yr) 
  • Water Quality (avoided phosphorus export, kg/yr) 

Researchers use MESH-SDG to understand how changes in ecosystem services under alternative land management scenarios may affect ecosystem contributions to achieving the SDGs.  Since the SDGs are of global importance and national interest, this helps to show the policy relevance of ecosystem service assessment outputs. 

 

MESH-SDG will link ecosystem change to six SDGs: food security (SDG2), health (SDG3), water (SDG6), sustainable cities (SDG11), climate (SDG 13) and conservation of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG15). MESH-SDG will be designed to populate values for up to twelve SDG-relevant indicators. These outputs will provide a basis for making comparisons of progress towards multiple national SDG targets across different scenarios of ecosystem change, for example, arising from land-use planning or investment decisions. 

Next steps/variations

MESH is unique, however it uses Natural Capital Project Invest ecosystem service models which are also available as standalone tools. 

MESH is adaptable based on situational needs. Other models can easily be incorporated into MESH via a model plugin framework. 

MESH SDG is an extension of MESH currently under development. It is a programming script written in R. It will generate outputs and indicators that are specific to the SDGs, based on findings from research and stakeholder consultation during the SNAP project. MESH-SDG will be designed to populate values for up to twelve SDG-relevant indicators. These outputs will provide a basis for making comparisons of progress towards multiple national SDG targets across different scenarios of ecosystem change, for example, arising from land-use planning or investment decisions. 

MESH-SDG is designed for use after running an ecosystem service assessment tool such as MESH. You download MESH-SDG onto your computer, and then run it using the outputs of the ecosystem service assessment compiled to show the ‘differences from baseline’ (i.e. proportional ecosystem service changes for each scenario) in an excel file.