Contributing to the uASM

Uploading your Ecosystem Service data

This section explains how to upload your Ecosystem Service data into the uASM.

The uASM uses the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) v5.1 as its default classification system. CICES was chosen due to its hierarchical structure and its ability to link equivalences between other classification systems that may have different thematic and spatial resolutions.

We ask all users to convert their Ecosystem Service classifications into the CICES format to be integrated into the uASM. JNCC has created an interactive step-by-step form that clearly breaks down the hierarchal levels. It can be viewed here:

This was created directly from the CICES V5.1 worksheet, which can be accessed here:

 Alternatively, full and detailed guidance on how to use the CICES V5.1 classification system can be assessed here Guidance-V51-01012018.pdf (

CICES is broken down into four levels (Section, Division, Group, and Class). This hierarchal structure provides a more detailed, specified description of the ecosystem service with each increasing level. Below is an example of how this system can be used to classify an external ES classification into the CICES format:

For example, an Ecosystem Service from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) classification system of 'Regulation of freshwater and coastal water quality' will have a CICES equivalent definition of 2.2.5.x. This score was reached by starting at the CICES Section level and descending the hierarchy until the hierarchy becomes too specific; as seen below.  The classification level that aligns most closely with the IPBES Ecosystem service is marked in bold.


1.x.x.x - Provisioning (Biotic)
2.x.x.x – Regulation & Maintenance (Biotic)
3.x.x.x - Cultural (Biotic)
4.x.x.x - Provisioning (Abiotic)
5.x.x.x - Regulation & Maintenance (Abiotic)
6.x.x.x - Cultural (Abiotic)


2.1.x.x – Transformation of biochemical or physical inputs to ecosystems
2.2.x.x – Regulation of physical, chemical, and biological conditions
2.3.x.x - Other types of regulation and maintenance service by living processes


2.2.1.x - Regulation of baseline flows and extreme events
2.2.2.x - Lifecycle maintenance, habitat and gene pool protection
2.2.3.x - Pest and disease control
2.2.4.x - Regulation of soil quality
2.2.5.x - Water conditions
2.2.6.x - Atmospheric composition and conditions

Class - Regulation of the chemical condition of freshwaters by living processes - Regulation of the chemical condition of salt waters by living processes

In this example, you can see the IPBES Ecosystem Service classification (Regulation of freshwater and coastal water quality) could be classified down to the Division level (2.2.5.x) but could not be classified down to the Class level as it is divided into designations that would be too specific to be directly comparable.  Hence, it will be recorded as 2.2.5.x in the database.

Recording your Original Ecosystem Service classification system

We have multiple classification systems incorporated within the system that are linked with the CICES classification. They are listed below. If you are using a different Ecosystem Service (ES) classification system that is not in the list, please manually add the information to the field provided. These entries will be incorporated into the database alongside its equivalent CICES classification.

Calculating your Ecosystem Service (ES) Supply score

The JNCC Level of Ecosystem Service (ES) Supply is a qualitative rating system using a High, Medium, Low, and Negligible score to assess the level of service provided by a specific asset. The generated score is unitless and provides a relative comparison only and so cannot be used to quantitatively compare different assets on their ability to provide an ecosystem service. Rather, it is a tool to quickly identify key linkages between assets and ecosystem services for further investigation.

Please convert the ES supply score from the original source material and assign a JNCC supply score of High, Medium, Low, Negligible or NA (Not applicable) for service supply. Two examples are given below. In example 1, Potts et al. (2014) use a colour grading system to assess its ES supply (Example 1). 

Example 1. Conversion of Potts et al. (2014) Ecosystem Service Supply score to an equivalent JNCC score

Potts et al. (2014) Ecosystem Service Supply score

JNCC Ecosystem Service Supply score



Dark grey


Light grey



Not applicable

Other classification systems may use a more descriptive approach with a larger number of categories that may not fall perfectly into the JNCC classification system.  Hence, some estimation will be required to convert the scores (Example 2).

Example 2. Conversion of alternative Ecosystem Service Supply score to an equivalent JNCC score

Other Ecosystem Service Supply score

JNCC Ecosystem Service Supply score

Very high








Very low



Not applicable

This process requires some flexibility to assess and score correctly.  We will ask you to provide a brief description (in the text box provided on the form) of how you translated your score into the JNCC ES supply score for quality assurance and our records.

Enter your Ecosystem Confidence (ES) Score

To create a confidence score from your data you can either convert the confidence score from an original ‘parent’ ASM or assess the type of resource you are entering.

Conversion from 'parent' ASM

Defining linkage confidence (confidence that the data accurately describes the asset-ES linkage) is common practice within the creation of a relativistic ASM, and the uASM incorporates the original levels of confidence where possible from the parent ASM.

In common with our approach, other published ASMs' confidence scores typically follow a High, Medium, or Low (H, M, or L) scoring system that describes the level of confidence the author has in the asset-to-ecosystem service link. The scales used for confidence in the parent ASM can vary and include 1-3, 1-7 and 1-9 numerical scales. The parent ASM linkage confidence can be converted to the uASM scale, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparison of the uASM linkage confidence score and a parent ASM numerical linkage confidence score 

uASM Linkage Confidence Score

Parent ASM Linkage Confidence Score







Scoring by Literature Type

The uASM uses the same system (High, Medium, or Low) to score data that is imported where no previous score has been assigned. In these cases, the literature source is assessed, and a confidence score is assigned in line with the following guidance criteria (Table 2).

Table 2. Linkage confidence score based on literature type

uASM Linkage Confidence Score

Literature type


Peer-reviewed, primary data collection


Literature reviews and metadata


Expert judgement or opinion