Multi-scale Integrated Modelling for Ecosystem Services (MIMES)


MIMES is a multi-scale, integrated shell of models that determines stock and flows of selected ecosystem service models to provide resource managers with an improved understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems services, how these might change under different management scenarios, and how these ecosystem services are linked to human welfare.



MIMES is a suite of applications, all delivered to end users through the Web. There are bespoke models for particular cases. All applications have been designed with the help of professional usability engineers, and are accessible through a standard web browser.

MIMES approach has evolved into an analytical tool that can capture the dynamics and feedbacks of multiple ecosystem service productions and demands simultaneously. A baseline scenario (or most likely outcome given past conditions) is created through calibration against known states of the modeled system, and is used for comparison against alternatives. Calibrations and sensitivity analyses of the base-case scenarios are also used to inform confidence levels in a particular model

MIMES operates like a dynamic Geospatial Information System, addressing the links between natural and human capital and allowing users to integrate site-specific information with spatial data. In this regard, it is ideally suited to examine tradeoffs under various economic, policy, and climate scenarios in space and over time.

Within the modular framework of MIMES, spatial scales can be bridged when local applications are nested in regional applications and regional applications again are nested in the global application. In practice, the computational and labor resources, together with a fully developed scientific agreement on how information travels across scales, are not available to attempt this implementation.

There are three critical features of MIMES that make it a useful framework for addressing ecosystem services at multiple scales:

(1) The MIMES approach can engage a wide diversity of collaborators and experts, including those more knowledgeable in ecology and economics than in mathematics and modeling,

(2) online resources allow investigators from around the world to work collaboratively, and

(3) groups have been developed to work on related problems,




Overview of MIMES structure (after Kaval and van den Belt, 2017)


Within the MIMES suite is a set effective tools to present stakeholders with scenarios and a suite of models that assess the true value of ecosystem services in a sophisticated and transferable system. This provides an understand the dynamics of ecosystem services, how their services are linked to human welfare, how their function and value might change under various management scenarios. It will facilitate understanding of the context of spatial patterns of land use, they dynamics of value, and the scale at which information is available for estimating ecosystem services at various scales (e.g. watershed, national and global).

Models such as MIMES allow for testing management scenarios that would be socially unacceptableand present opportunities for conservation offence, alerting managers and stakeholders to potentially unsustainable practices.

MIMES will provide economic arguments for land use managers to approach conservation of ecosystems as a form of economic development. The model facilitates quantitative measures of ecosystem service effects on human well-being.

MIMES provides a flexible platform for integration and is in essence an open source library of modelling modules available to custom design a particular model. Models can be constructed of catchments, coastal zones and combination thereof at different scales.


State of Development Please Select

Development Contact

Roelof M. Boumans
AFORDable Futures LLC
4685 Greenbush Rd
Charlotte, VT 05445


Outcome Areas Economic, Environmental, Social
Management Domains Ecosystem Services
Intended End Users
  • Researcher
  • Regional Council Scientist
Spatial Resolutions 100-500m
Spatial Extents Regional, National
Spatial Dimensions 2D
Steady State or Dynamic Unknown
Level of Integration Economic, Environmental, Social

Input & Output Data


Open/Closed Source Closed Source
Licence Type Unknown

User Information

Operating Systems MS Windows
Software Needed GIS
User Interface Please Select
Ease of Use Unknown
Use in Policy Process Plan (Policy Formulation), Check (Policy Evaluation), Review (Issue Identification)

Technical Considerations

Programming Language SIMILE
Keywords Ecosystem services, stocks, flows, scenarios

MIMES Web page - AFFORDable Futures LLC

US Climate Resilience Toolkit - MIMES

Key References

Roelof Boumans, Joe Roman, Irit Altman, Les Kaufman. (2015): The Multiscale Integrated Model of Ecosystem Services (MIMES): Simulating the interactions of coupled human and natural systems,
Ecosystem Services, Volume 12, Pages 30-41.

Boumans, R. and Costanza, R., (2007): The multiscale integrated Earth Systems model (MIMES): the dynamics, modeling and valuation of
ecosystem services. In C. VAN BERS, D. PETRY and C. PAHL-WOSTL, eds, Global Assessments: Bridging Scales and Linking to Policy. Report on the joint TIAS-GWSP workshop held at the University of
Maryland University College, Adelphi, USA, 10 and 11 May 2007. GWSP Issues in Global Water System Research, No.2. edn. Bonn: GWSP IPO, pp. 104-108.

Kaval, P. and van den Belt, M. (2017): The Organizing Framework of Ecosystem Services and its use in River Management. Working Paper in Economics 22/17, University of Waikato, Hamilton

Kenneth J. Bagstad, Darius J. Semmens, Sissel Waage, Robert Winthrop (2013): A comparative assessment of decision-support tools for ecosystem services quantification and valuation,
Ecosystem Services, Volume 5, Pages 27-39