About GEMS Ecosystem Service Logic Models

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Find logic models (ESLMs), outcomes, social and economic metrics, and (coming soon) measurement protocols for each project type:

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About Models

Ecosystem services logic models (ESLMs) illustrate and communicate the impacts of projects, showing how each project type results in a set of social and economic outcomes. The use of logic models is recommended by the National Academies of Science as best practice for designing monitoring plans; these models can provide a practical and transferable approach for identifying how to measure success at different scales.

Models were developed through literature review and expert consultation and were adapted based on expert, practitioner and stakeholder input gathered at in-person and virtual workshops.  For oyster reef restoration an in-depth literature review building from the logic model was conducted to create an evidence library.

ESLMs show the cascade of changes that restoration (dark blue box) causes in the biophysical and ecological systems (gray boxes), which then lead to changes in human activities (light blue boxes), and socioeconomic outcomes (yellow boxes).  Many of the biophysical and ecological changes (gray boxes) are critically important outcomes for projects and programs, but we assume they are already being measured and tracked

GEMS models example diagram

Strength of connectionStrength of connection: We indicate whether each socioeconomic outcome has a strong or weak link to a particular restoration activity based on literature and expert input. An outcome is potentially strong if the intervention may cause a substantial change in the outcome, such that potentially strong, positive outcomes could reasonably be project goals, while potentially strong, negative outcomes should be considered and mitigated to the extent possible by project design.  The change in the outcome can be caused by a single project or the cumulative effect of multiple similar projects.  Strong socioeconomic outcomes are highlighted in the ESLMs, and the primary links leading from the intervention to the strong outcomes are bolded. Categorizing outcomes as potentially weak does not necessarily indicate that they should not be monitored or that there is no possibility of a detectable change due to the intervention, but the magnitude of change is likely to be low and may be difficult to distinguish among other factors that influence the outcome. Because we completed a more robust evidence review for the oyster reef restoration models, the strong/weak links associated with those models were assessed based off an evidence library that used a standardized methodology to score whether the evidence indicated that a particular outcome was strongly linked to the restoration action.

Strength of connectionResilience: One of the goals of restoration projects and programs in the Gulf is to build coastal and community resilience. Resilience refers to the ability to “bounce back” or recover after some kind of emergency or hazardous event. These events can include hurricanes and other coastal storms, sea level rise, and flooding. A community can be resilient in many ways, including economically, socially, or structurally. We found that facets of resilience overlap with many of the outcomes linked to restoration we address in this project. We highlight those resilience-linked outcomes in the outcomes lists on the models and metrics pages and provide a full list of the resilience-linked outcomes. These outcomes do not fully capture all the aspects of community resilience; we aim only to indicate which of our outcomes (and their associated metrics) might be used to examine certain aspects of resilience.

How Models Can Be Used

  • Models can be downloaded and adapted to your specific project or program context to identify outcomes for use in proposals, to help with project/program justification, and to develop a monitoring plan.
  • The model database can also be explored by outcome, to determine what kind of project(s) are most likely to result in outcomes of interest, to help select restoration approaches used.

Model Resources Include:

Model walkthrough and editing demo

  • A model context document that describes the project type, provides additional detail and clarification about the relationships in the model, and lists key references used to develop the model.
  • Detailed evidence library for oyster reef restoration that can be used to determine the likely direction and magnitude of different outcomes, as well as identify key knowledge gaps that might suggest monitoring priorities.

Considering Equity in Restoration Planning

Across the Gulf of Mexico, communities are not equally impacted by natural disasters and human-caused stressors that damage Gulf ecosystems, and restoration efforts do not always consider who is likely to benefit, and who may be harmed or left out by restoration projects. Restoration practitioners can use the outcomes identified in the GEMS ESLMs to help them consider equity of target and non-target project outcomes during project design, implementation, and monitoring. We provide guidance on methods that can help consider who will be affected and how including: stakeholder assessments (link forthcoming), demographic data collection (link forthcoming), project access checklists (link forthcoming), and focus groups (link forthcoming).