Date of this Version
Published in Environmental Modelling & Software 26 (2011) 458-468. Doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2010.10.008
Great interest currently exists for developing ecosystem models to forecast how ecosystem services may change under alternative land use and climate futures. Ecosystem services are diverse and include supporting services or functions (e.g., primary production, nutrient cycling), provisioning services (e.g., wildlife, groundwater), regulating services (e.g., water purification, floodwater retention), and even cultural services (e.g., ecotourism, cultural heritage). Hence, the knowledge base necessary to quantify ecosystem services is broad and derived from many diverse scientific disciplines. Building the required interdisciplinary models is especially challenging as modelers from different locations and times may develop the disciplinary models needed for ecosystem simulations, and these models must be identified and made accessible to the interdisciplinary simulation. Additional difficulties include inconsistent data structures, formats, and metadata required by geospatial models as well as limitations on computing, storage, and connectivity. Traditional standalone and closed network systems cannot fully support sharing and integrating interdisciplinary geospatial models from variant sources. To address this need, we developed an approach to openly share and access geospatial computational models using distributed Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques and open geospatial standards. We included a means to share computational models compliant with Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Processing Services (WPS) standard to ensure modelers have an efficient and simplified means to publish new models. To demonstrate our approach, we developed five disciplinary models that can be integrated and shared to simulate a few of the ecosystem services (e.g., water storage, waterfowl breeding) that are provided by wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America.