Applicability of InVEST

Dear Community,

I am going to evaluate the ecosystem services of a section of river wetland in Southwest China, and then predict the impact of damming on its ecosystem services in the future. I’m not sure whether the InVEST model can implement my idea.

My research site is a floodplain wetland and now it is a scenic spot with good scenery. A hydropower station is planned to be built in the downstream of the wetland. The wetland will be submerged after damming and the original landscape of flood wetland will turn into an artificial reservoir. Definitely, the construction of reservoirs will also change other ecological functions of wetlands, such as biodiversity, climate regulation, flood equalization and so forth.

My chief purpose is to predict and assess the ecosystem services of wetland after hydropower construction, in order to provide guidance for decision making of the engineering design. According to my above description, can InVEST achieve my expectations? Which modular do you recommend me to use?

Thanks all in advance!



Hi @Fred ,

I’m very sorry for the delay here, and welcome to the forums!

In general, InVEST models are well-suited for the sort of comparison study that you’re describing, a “what will happen when …” kind of study. I would suggest looking through the InVEST user’s guide and seeing which of the models might work well for what you’re hoping to model.

Offhand, here are a few that might interest you:

  1. Annual Water Yield, and since you’re working with an artificial reservoir, you could also consider the Hydropower valuation component of the model.
  2. Carbon Storage and Sequestration, since there will be wetland habitat lost.
  3. Water Quality (modeled by Sediment Delivery Ratio and Nutrient Delivery Ratio models)
  4. Visitation: Recreation and Tourism
  5. Biodiversity can be modeled by our implementation of GLOBIO, and by looking at Habitat Quality as well.

Note that these models aren’t specific to wetlands, but they generally are parameterized through land-use/land-cover rasters and tables and so you will need to adjust the parameters for your study area according to the landscape(s) you’re looking to represent.

Hope this helps!

Hi @Fred -

I’m sad to hear about yet another wetland being drowned anywhere in the world. There are surely a lot of things to consider with a scenario like that, some of which InVEST models can help with, as James noted. One complication from a hydrology service perspective is that the reservoir may actually provide some of the same functions as a wetland (trapping sediment, regulating flow, etc). So there will surely be a lot of tradeoffs to consider, which we do a lot of with InVEST results. There are also potential aspects that InVEST does not have models for, like river/floodplain flooding.

Which beneficiaries are you evaluating services for? Recreation visitors? Downstream water users? Resident wildlife? Others?

~ Stacie

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