What is the Ecosystem Services Inventory?

The Ecosystem Services Inventory (ESI) is a credible, science-based estimation of the supply of ecosystem services in Alberta. It is based on an assessment system of data sets and models to help users understand the provision of specific ecosystem services, and the distribution of these services geographically across the province. Results are provided in a report or can be viewed in an online mapping application.

Access the inventory

What Ecosystem Services are included?

ABMI, together with their partners, have been working on maps and measures of five ecosystem services that are included in the ESI:

Water Purification

Carbon Storage

Forage Production


Timber Production

Biodiversity Intactness

In addition, while not considered an ecosystem service, the ESI also includes the ABMI’s Biodiversity Intactness Index as a measure of the state, or health, of biodiversity for a given area of interest. The health of biodiversity is related to the supply of many ecosystem services, such as water purification and pollination.

What are the Potential Uses of the ESI?

The ESI provides information that can be used as part of land-use planning, sustainability reporting, or environmental programs that use a market-based approach. For instance, the tool estimates the current value for an ecosystem service, which can be used as a baseline for evaluating future changes; it can be used as a tool for communication; and it can also be used as part of planning to identify priority areas that supply ecosystem services for conservation. As a result, a range of potential users may be interested in the supply of ecosystem services, including:

Farmers/ranchers interested in ecosystem services and the implementation of beneficial management practices that support their provision, e.g., as part of on-farm planning requirements to participate in agricultural/environmental conservation programs.

Municipal governments interested in identifying and managing for desired environmental outcomes with respect to the supply of ecosystem services provided by agricultural lands, protected areas, and other land use designations.

Land trust organizations that use information on the provision of ecosystem services to identify priority areas for conservation.

The ESI tool provides science-based measures of ecosystem services for identified parcels of land which can support a range of applications.

How does the Ecosystem Services Inventory Work?

The ESI involves three steps:

Step 1. Select an area of interest

Select from pre-defined region types, and then from the associated regions or sub-regions. These include ecological and administrative planning regions such as municipalities, forest management agreement areas, caribou ranges, or watersheds. If you are a land owner, you may also select a specific area by entering a legal land description.

Step 2. Select the ecosystem service you are interested in

You have the option of selecting from one of five ecosystem services. Alternately, you can view the health of biodiversity for your area of interest by selecting biodiversity intactness (more on the ABMI’s Biodiversity Intactness Index here).

Step 3. View ecosystem service results

Once an area of interest and ecosystem service have been selected, view the results in one of two ways: through the ESI online web mapping application (ESI App) or by downloading a pdf report. The ESI App options lets you explore the supply of ecosystem services in an online mapping application. Alternatively, an ecosystem service status report can be downloaded without entering the ESI App. This report provides information on how the supply of that ecosystem services was estimated, a map of your area of interest, and ideas on management actions you might implement to enhance (increase supply) of that ecosystem service or biodiversity.