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The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) V5.1

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Developer

Haines-Young and Potschin

Latest documentation

2018

Designed for use in

CICES is designed for international use but can be used nationally and locally.

Ongoing

Yes

Assessment purpose

Values/Services

Assessment criteria

Socio-cultural, Physical and chemical, Flora, Fauna

Method type

Desktop

Timescale

Short-medium term

Scale

Landscape/Catchment, Region, Site/habitat

Wetland system

Estuarine, Lacustrine, Marine, Palustrine, Riverine

Description and method logic

Method purpose

CICES is a hierarchical framework designed to help measure, account for, and assess final ecosystem services (services). The framework is designed to provide a common naming and classification system of services to support ecosystem accounting frameworks.

Summary

CICES uses a hierarchy to classify services that arise from biotic (e.g. living) and abiotic (e.g. non-living) structures and processes within ecosystems. It identifies both the purposes or uses that people have for the different kinds of ecosystem service and the particular ecosystem attributes or behaviours that support them. The framework defines services as ‘the contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being’[1][2]. The definition of each service is made up of two parts: a clause describing the biophysical output (i.e. the ‘ecological clause’ noting what the ecosystem does) and a clause describing the contribution it makes to an eventual use or benefit (‘use clause’).

CICES can be easily cross-referenced between different ecosystem service classification systems, such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) 2005, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting—Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA).

Method logic

The CICES hierarchy has five-levels:
  • Section (e.g. Provisioning)
  • Division (e.g. Biomass)
  • Group (e.g. Cultivated terrestrial plants for nutrition, materials or energy)
  • Class (e.g. Cultivated terrestrial plants (including fungi, algae) grown for nutritional purposes)
  • Class type (e.g. Cereals, The ecological contribution to the growth of cultivated, land-based crops that can be harvested and used as raw material for the production of food).

Each level is progressively more detailed and specific. Each level of the hierarchy is dependent on one another in that the characteristics used to define services at the lower levels are inherited from the Sections, Divisions and Groups above them. It is important to note that at any level in the hierarchy, the categories are intended to be exclusive so that CICES can be regarded as a classification system.

Each service classification is assigned a unique four-digit code. Biotic provisioning, regulation and maintenance, and cultural services are labelled at the Section level as 1, 2, and 3 respectively, while the abiotic outputs are labelled 4, 5, 6 at the Section level. Services can then be coded under each section at the Division, Group, and Class levels. For example, under the “Provisioning Biotic” Section, the class type “Cultivated terrestrial plants (including fungi, algae) grown for nutritional purposes” is labelled as 1.1.1.1. Under the “Provisioning Abiotic” Section, the class type “Mineral substances used for material purposes” is labelled 4.3.1.2.

Although CICES at the Class level is intended to be exhaustive, each of the Section levels enable users to develop services not yet included in CICES. In the coding system, where CICES codes are unavailable for a service, the nearest CICES code for “other” is used (for example, 2.3.X.X) and a new code number is substituted for ‘x’.

Criteria groupings of the method

CICES groups criteria under the five levels of the hierarchy:

Section (e.g. provisioning, regulation & maintenance, cultural)

Division (e.g. biomass, regulation of physical, chemical, biological conditions, direct, in-situ and outdoor interactions with natural physical systems that depend on presence in the environmental setting)

Group (e.g. cultivated aquatic plants for nutrition, materials or energy, regulation of baseline flows and extreme events, spiritual, symbolic and other interactions with the abiotic components of the natural environment)

Class (e.g. fibres and other materials from cultivated plants, fungi, algae and bacteria for direct use or processing  (excluding genetic materials), bio-remediation by micro-organisms, algae, plants, and animals, characteristics of living systems that enable education and training)

*For conciseness, the ‘Criteria by Category’ section presented later in this entry only lists Section and Group categories. For detailed information, please see the CICES spreadsheet.

Data required

  • Data and understanding about ecosystem components and processes
  • Data about activities occurring within the environment and broader catchment/landscape
  • Information about the material and non-material uses people have for ecosystem outputs

Resources required

Expertise required

  • In-depth knowledge of the ecosystem components, processes, and activities within the environment and broader catchment/landscape and how they generate services
  • Expe knowledge of people’s interaction with nature
  • Record keeping expertise (e.g. Excel or other data recording software)

Materials required

  • CICES Spreadsheet (downloaded from the CICES website https://cices.eu/resources/ for filtering services
  • Microsoft Office or similar product that can read/edit Excel spreadsheets (e.g. Google Sheets)
  • Computing resources

Method outputs

Outputs

  • Filtered spreadsheet identifying the services performed by an ecosystem
  • Filtered spreadsheet that links the purposes or uses that people have for different ecosystem services with ecosystem attributes or behaviours
  • A common naming and classification system of services to support ecosystem accounting frameworks

Uses

  • Recommendations for management of ecosystems to maintain or improve the services they provide
  • A common naming and classification system of services for supporting ecosystem accounting frameworks
  • Support for decision-making and policy development

Criteria by category

    Physical and chemical

    • Provisioning (Abiotic)
      • Non-aqueous natural abiotic ecosystem outputs
      • Water
    • Regulation & Maintenance (Abiotic)
      • Regulation of physical, chemical, biological conditions
      • Transformation of biochemical or physical inputs to ecosystems
    • Regulation & Maintenance (Biotic)
      • Regulation of physical, chemical, biological conditions
      • Transformation of biochemical or physical inputs to ecosystems

    Socio-cultural

    • Cultural (Abiotic)
      • Direct, in-situ and outdoor interactions with natural physical systems that depend on presence in the environmental setting
      • Indirect, remote, often indoor interactions with physical systems that do not require presence in the environmental setting
    • Cultural (Biotic)
      • Direct, in-situ and outdoor interactions with living systems that depend on presence in the environmental setting
      • Indirect, remote, often indoor interactions with living systems that do not require presence in the environmental setting

    Flora

    • Provisioning (Biotic)
      • Biomass
      • Genetic material from all biota (including seed, spore or gamete production)

    Fauna

    • Provisioning (Biotic)
      • Biomass
      • Genetic material from all biota (including gamete production)

Review

Recommended user

Natural resource managers, government agencies, local government, researchers, education, science communicators

Strengths

  • Comprehensive list of services that can be applied across a diverse set of ecosystems
  • Based on existing classification frameworks (e.g. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005, TEEB, and SEEA)
  • Adaptive
  • Can be used to support ecosystem accounting frameworks (e.g. SEEA)
  • Can be used alongside spatial mapping and modelling ecosystem services

Limitations

  • Large spreadsheet to filter, can be difficult to manoeuvre
  • Communication of the concept of ecosystem services described by CICES can be complex and may require extra effort to explain services for non-experts

Case studies

Links


References

  1. ^ Haines-Young, R & Potschin, MB (2018), Common international classification of ecosystem services (CICES) V5. 1 and guidance on the application of the revised structure. . .. [online], European Environment Agency (EEA). Available at: https://cices.eu/content/uploads/sites/8/2018/01/Guidance-V51-01012018.pdf.
  2. ^ Routledge handbook of ecosystem services (2016), p. 629, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London ; New York, eds. M Potschin, R H Haines-Young, R Fish & R K Turner.

Last updated: 21 June 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2022) The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) V5.1, WetlandInfo website, accessed 5 October 2022. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/resources/tools/assessment-search-tool/the-common-international-classification-of-ecosystem-services-cices-v5-1/

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science