Revision Highlights

  • The hierarchical structure that was the basis of CICES V4.3 has been retained in V5.1; at the highest level in the classification services are grouped according into three Sections that relate to whether the contributions to human well-being support:

a) the provisioning of material and energy needs,

b) regulation and maintenance of the environment for humans, or

c) the non-material characteristics of ecosystems that affect physical and mental states of people, that is their cultural significance.

  • Although the majority of the classes included in V4.3 carry over to V5.1, their ordering and coding has been modified in the new version to enable users to more easily aggregate Classes for reporting purposes.
    • The classification structure for provisioning services has, for example, been modified in V5.1 to permit aggregation where no ‘end use’ is known so that the classification can be more easily used for accounting purposes.
    • A full set of equivalences at Class level have been provided to enable users to make the transition to V5.1. Download the new version from the resources page to access the material.
  • To emphasise the ‘purposeful’ nature of CICES classes, the definition of each service is made up of two parts, namely 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’).
    • For example, the service ‘Wild animals (terrestrial and aquatic) for used nutrition’ would be defined as ‘non-domesticated, wild animal species and their outputs (ecological clause) […..] that can be harvested and used as a raw material for the production of food (use clause)’.
    • Similarly, the service of ‘pest control’ would be ‘the reduction by biological interactions of the incidence of species (ecological clause) [……] that damage or reduce the output of food, material or energy from ecosystems, or their cultural importance, by the consumption of biomass or the spreading of disease (use clause)’.
  • In response to the difficulties that some users had in using CICES V4.3 to classify cultural ecosystem services, the definitions in this Section of the classification have been revised to better distinguish services from benefits.
    • Thus, cultural services are now seen as the characteristics of elements of nature that provide opportunities for people to derive cultural goods or benefits.
    • In the new version, cultural services are grouped into those opportunities that are realised from direct contact with nature or a more remote type of interaction; in the case of direct contact services are further classified according to whether the interaction is active or passive.
  • Examples of each service Class have been provided in the full CICES table, alongside example benefits; where possible examples are supported by reference to the literature. These examples are intended to help users understand what the Class entails, and to clarify the distinction between services and associated benefits.
  • Broad equivalences between CICES classes and the categories of the MA, TEEB and IPBES Classifications are available. There is also a spreadsheet tool that provides broad equivalences for the US-EPA Final Ecosystem Goods and Services Classification System (FEGS-CS). The equivalences for the MA, TEEB and IPBES can be viewed on the V5.1 spreadsheet. The material for FEGS-CS will soon be made available  via  the resources page.