LUCI (Land Utilisation & Capability Indicator)

LUCI explores the capability of a landscape to provide a variety of ecosystem services, such as agricultural production, flood and diffuse pollutant mitigation, carbon sequestration, habitat provision etc. The model is a second generation extension and accompanying software implementation of the Polyscape framework.
The model was developed through work at Pontbren, exploring impacts of land-use on flooding. Landcover types providing mitigation from flash-flood risk and diffuse pollution through enhanced infiltration (e.g. woodlands and wetlands); these are mapped as providing a service. LUCI then simulates flow and nutrient accumulation over the landscape, with areas routing through these mitigating features mapped as “mitigated” i.e. not hydrologically connected to the stream. Hydrologically connected areas of the landscape with large accumulations of water or pollutants are mapped as having potential to benefit from changes inland cover or management which could provide mitigating services. Hydrological routing is also used to map annual flow and average loading and concentration of N and P at each point on the river network. For agricultural production and carbon, LUCI compares the services provided by the current utilisation of the landscape to estimates of its potential capability. For each service, the model then processes this data to identify areas where change might improve service provision, and where current service provision is good or lacks potential to improve. Trade-offs between outputs for the individual ecosystem services are modelled and mapped, with an option for the user to preferentially weight services of higher importance.

2017 GMEP version
Amy Thomas, Eentre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bangor
Freely available for use by not-for-profit organisations (including university, other educational and government applications).
Operating Requirements
Runs on any standard computer with GIS software installed, and a spatial analyst license
Application Type
GIS python toolbox with compiled code- to be accessed through a geoprocessing server
User Interface
ESRI GIS toolbox
Support Available
Model development team can give some very limited support.
Application Scale
Geographical Restrictions
Only tested in Temperate Climates
Temporal Resolution
Long term annual average
Spatial Resolution
Provides output at resolution of DEM input- usually 5 by 5m
Primary Purpose
Simulate ecosystem services including controls on freshwater provisioning and flood risk mitigation. Trade-offs between services are modelled explicitly
Key Output Variables
Maps of: River flow; In-stream N and P loads and concentrations; Areas providing and receiving mitigation from flash-flood risk and diffuse pollution; Habitat connectivity and diversity; Agricultural productivity; Carbon storage and sequestration potential
Key Input Variables
Spatial data: Land cover and soil type, precipitation and evapotranspiration, topography and river network. Additional datasets on abstractions and inputs to stream where relevant/available
Calibration Required
No- Already calibrated for supported datasets
Model Structure
Spatially explicit GIS model. Links combined spatial input data for each pixel with a lookup table and applies process representation for flow of water and nutrients over the landscape. Habitat connectivity is simulated based on cost-distance approach taking into account characteristics of adjacent habitats. The model is temporally lumped- calibrated to give long term annual average values.
Model Parameterisation
Majority of key parameter values expert based or derived from observed data, taken from the literature, or averages taken from national databases.
Input Data Available on CaMMP Catalogue

Key References

  • Jackson et al. (2013). Polyscape: a GIS mapping toolbox providing efficient and spatially explicit landscape-scale valuation of multiple ecosystem services. Urban and Landscape Planning, 112, 74-88.
  • Sharps, K., D. Masante, et al. (2017). "Comparing strengths and weaknesses of three ecosystem services modelling tools in a diverse UK river catchment." Science of The Total Environment 584–585: 118-130.

Input Data

  • 1) Digital elevation model (DEM), i.e. gridded elevation data, in meters above sea level. Recommended spatial resolution is 5-10m cell length. 2) GIS shapefile of spatial land cover; supported formats are the CEH UK landcover map for 2007, or the New Zealand Landcare dataset. 3) GIS shapefile of spatial soil type; supported formats are the UK NATMAP product and the NZ fundamental soils layer. 4) ESRI grid of long term annual average precipitation in mm/year. 5) ESRI grid of long term annual average evapotranspiration in mm/year. 6) GIS shapefile of river network (polyline)

Output Data

  • 1) Average annual flow (m3/s) as GIS raster and shapefile; 2) Nutrient accumulation over the landscape and in-stream- in GIS raster format as annual average N and P loads and concentrations as kg/yr, mg/L and categories of high to low 3) Areas providing and receiving mitigation from flash-flood risk and diffuse pollution as GIS raster 4) Areas accessible to broadleaved woodland species as GIS raster 5) Current and potential carbon storage as kg/m2 and categories of high to low in GIS raster format 6) Current and potential agricultural utilisation as categories of high to low in GIS raster format 7) Trade-offs between the categorical ecosystem service maps as a GIS raster of categories ranked from “opportunity to improve multiple services” to “multiple services in good condition”.

Quality Assurance

Developer Testing
Internal Peer Review
External Peer Review
Use of Version Control
Internal Model Audit
External Model Audit
Quality Assurance Guidelines and Checklists
Periodic Review