Measuring, modeling and mapping ecosystem services in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania

In light of the significance that ecosystem service research is likely to play in linking conservation activities and human welfare, systematic approaches to measuring, modeling and mapping ecosystem services ( and their value to society) are sorely needed. In this paper we outline one such approach, which we developed in order to understand the links between the functioning of the ecosystems of Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountains and their impact on human welfare at local, regional and global scales. The essence of our approach is the creation of a series of maps created using field-based or remotely sourced data, data-driven models, and socio-economic scenarios coupled with rule-based assumptions. Here we describe the construction of this spatial information and how it can help to shed light on the complex relationships between ecological and social systems. There are obvious difficulties in operationalizing this approach, but by highlighting those which we have encountered in our own case-study work, we have also been able to suggest some routes to overcoming these impediments.