Name Used: Visual Amenity Services

Service Category: Cultural Services

Definition: Visual amenity services are the ecosystem contributions to local living conditions, in particular through the biophysical characteristics and qualities of ecosystems that provide sensory benefits, especially visual. This service combines with other ecosystem services, including recreation-related services and noise attenuation services, to underpin amenity values. This is a final ecosystem service.

See Valuation Methods Appendix for Economic Value, Valuation Methods, and Metrics.


Name Used: Physical & Experiential Interactions with Natural Environment

Service Category: Cultural

Definition: Physical and Experiential Interactions with Natural Environment refer to the various ways living and non-living elements of nature facilitate human activities focused on health, recuperation, or enjoyment. This includes characteristics of living systems that enable active or immersive interactions, as well as those that enable passive or observational interactions, each measured by the type of living system or environmental setting involved. Additionally, natural abiotic features that allow for both active and passive physical and experiential interactions are included, quantified by their types and amounts. These elements collectively enrich human well-being by providing opportunities for both physical engagement and mental restoration.

Economic Value Calculated: No

Valuation Methods: n/a

Metrics: included in definition

ESVD 2020

Name Used: Aesthetic information; Ornamental Resources

Service Category: Cultural; Provisioning

Definition: Aesthetic information as categorized by TEEB in ESVD include attractive landscapes. Ornamental Resources includes Decorative Plants, Fashion, Decorations / Handicrafts, Pets and captive animals.

Economic Value Calculated: Yes

Valuation Methods: The ESVD 2020 report offers a total of 4,042 value estimates, with 97 specific to Aesthetic information and 18 for Ornamental Resources. See the Valuation Methods Appendix.

Metrics: $/ha/yr; ESVD is working on other qualitative and quantitative metrics.


Name Used: Aesthetic Value

Service Category: Information

Definition: Enjoying and appreciating the scenery, sounds, and smells of nature

Economic Value Calculated: Yes

Valuation Methods: Revealed Preference, Hedonic Pricing, Meta-Analysis, Contingent Valuation


Forest: Kousky & Walls (2013) evaluated the aesthetic benefits of the Meramac River greenway in St. Louis through a hedonic model that tied property values to proximity to the greenway. The original 2012 USD/year values were normalized to 2021 USD/acre/year. Similarly, McPherson et al. (2005) assessed aesthetic benefits of street and park trees in five U.S. cities. A hedonic price study was adapted through a biophysical model, and values were presented as 2005 USD net present value per city. These were then converted to 2021 USD/acre/year, focusing only on data from three cities due to limitations on canopy cover information.

Coastal and Inland Wetlands: Ghermandi et al. (2010) performed a global meta-analysis on the value of wetlands, which was localized to the U.S. through a function transfer. The reduced model from the study, with 416 observations and an adjusted R^2 of 0.44, was used. Variables in the model were configured to align with U.S. conditions: 1) Non-coastal wetland variables were set to zero while estuarine and marine wetland variables were averaged (**and the opposite for Inland**); 2) The "amenity and aesthetics" variable was set to 1, with other ecosystem service variables set to zero; 3) U.S. GDP per capita was adjusted to match the model's unit requirements; 4) Average size of U.S. coastal wetlands was used for wetland size; 5) Remaining variables were set to their mean values. The dependent variable, originally in 2003 USD per hectare per year, was converted to 2021 USD per acre per year.

Urban and Rural Green Open Space: Bockarjova et al. (2020) conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the value of green open spaces, resulting in a U.S.-specific valuation through a function transfer from their Model 2, which had an adjusted R^2 of 0.699. Variables were configured to fit U.S. conditions: 1) for urban “Park" and "small urban green" and for rural “peri-urban greenspace” variables were averaged, other types set to zero; 2) "Aesthetics" set to 1, other ecosystem service variables set to zero; 3) Current U.S. GDP per capita was adjusted for the model; 4) U.S. average population density was converted to model-specific units; 5) All other variables were averaged. The dependent variable, initially in 2016 USD per hectare per year, was converted to 2021 USD per acre per year. Lutzenhiser & Netusil (2001) segmented the general "park" category into specific types, and the average of urban and natural area parks was used for FEMA BCA valuation. The Trust for Public Land (2017) found that parks in Los Angeles increase nearby home values by 5%.

Riparian: Qiu et al. (2006) used a hedonic pricing method to assess the added value of residential properties near riparian areas. This was validated using a contingent valuation survey to address biases in the econometric models. Berman & Armagost (2013) focused on the value increase of homes near freshwater resources in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, using sales data from 2009 to 2010. They found that riparian zones positively influenced property values. Similarly, Kousky & Walls (2014) conducted a hedonic analysis using sales data from 2008 to 2012 for households near the Meramec River in Missouri, confirming that proximity to the riparian area had a positive impact on property values.

Coral Reefs: Brander and van Beukering (2013) utilized a function transfer to estimate the national value of coral reefs in the U.S. based on a meta-analysis with an adjusted R^2 of 0.44. Key model variables included average U.S. GDP per capita and the average area of coral cover in the U.S., and focused on the "amenity" ecosystem service. The findings were converted to 2021 USD per acre per year. Separately, Van Beukering et al. (2011) employed a hedonic price method to examine the impact of coral reef proximity on housing prices in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They identified a positive impact, quantifying it as an equivalent of $37 million annually.

Beaches and Dunes: Landry et al. (2003) and Gopalakrishnan et al. (2011) both employed hedonic models to evaluate the aesthetic value of beaches and their management policies in Georgia and North Carolina, respectively. Landry et al. found preferences for wider beaches and aversions to armoring strategies and shoreline retreat. Gopalakrishnan et al. discovered that beach width significantly influenced property values, even more than previously thought, underscoring the importance of such features in the context of climate change and rising population densities in coastal regions. Both studies initially reported values in linear units or total value. These were later regularized to approximate areas using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for a more standardized comparison.


Name Used: Physical and psychological experiences

Service Category: Non-material NCP (Non-Material)

Definition: Provision, by landscapes, seascapes, habitats or organisms, of opportunities for physically and psychologically beneficial activities, healing, relaxation, recreation, leisure, tourism and aesthetic enjoyment based on the close contact with nature.

Economic Value Calculated: No

Valuation Methods: n/a

Metrics: Area of natural and traditional landscapes and seascapes


Not classified in ENCORE as it is considered a Cultural Service.

TNFD Environmental Assets & Ecosystem Services



Name Used: Scenic Quality

Service Category: Visual and Scenic Quality

Definition: Assesses and values the visual quality of landscapes based on sited or planned features. The model produces viewshed maps and calculates the value of impacted visibility. It also allows for an evaluation of tradeoffs between nearshore and offshore developments and their visual impacts.

Economic Value Calculated: Partially, focuses more on qualitative valuation but can be adapted for more detailed economic valuation.

Valuation Methods: Number of "viewer days" per year, monetary value of change in scenic quality using valuation functions from peer-reviewed literature.

Metrics: Viewshed maps, topography and bathymetry, locations of offshore facilities, and locations of viewers like population centers or parks. Inputs can also include studies exploring the economic magnitude of visual disamenities.

Swiss Re BES Index

Not listed as an ES category but does reference IPBES - NCP framework.

Last updated