This page summarises the previously done and current research involving LUCI, or an earlier iteration of the LUCI model that was named "Polyscape." For more information about Polyscape, we recommend the following paper:

Jackson, B., Pagella, T., Sinclair, F., Orellana, B., Henshaw, A., Reynolds, B., Mcintyre, N., Wheater, H., & Eycott, A. (2013). Polyscape: A GIS mapping framework providing efficient and spatially explicit landscape-scale valuation of multiple ecosystem services. Landscape and Urban Planning, 112, 74-88.

Other key literature to understanding LUCI are:

LUCI in Government

The Welsh Government used LUCI within a GBP9M (~ NZD18M) project to identify trade-offs and co-benefits and to project the potential outcomes of farmer interventions so that agricultural subsidies can be better targeted.

Within these reports, several chapters have been published detailing the application of LUCI for farmland, trade-offs, and soil quality.

Maskell, L., Jackson, B., Jarvis, S., Maxwell, D., Robinson, D., Siriwardena, G., Smart, S., Tebbs, E., Thomas A., & Emmett, B. (2015). Chapter 9: High Nature Value Farmland In Emmett et al., Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme, Second Year Annual Report (pp. 1001). Bangor, UK: NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Barrett, G., Creer, S., G., Emmett, BA., Evans, C., Giampieri, C., Hughes, S., Jackson, B., Jones, D.L., Lallias, D., Lebron, I., MacDonald, J., Maxwell, D. Pereira, MG., Rawlins, B., Robinson D.A., & Thomas, A. (2015). Chapter 8: Soil Quality In Emmett et al., Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme, Second Year Annual Report (pp. 1001). Bangor, UK: NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Thomas A., Jackson, B., Cooper, D., Cosby, B., Maxwell, D., Reuland, O. & Emmett, B. (2015). Chapter 10: Trade-off and opportunity mapping In Emmett et al., Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme, Second Year Annual Report (pp. 1001). Bangor, UK: NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

LUCI has also been profiled within the National Ecosystem Approach Toolkit with more information found here.

Past publications

This section summarises the reports, conference papers, and journal articles that have utilised LUCI.

Nguyen, T., Meurk, C. Benavidez, R., Jackson, B., & Pahlow, M. (2021)  The Effect of Blue-Green Infrastructure on Habitat Connectivity and Biodiversity: A Case Study in the Ōtākaro/Avon River Catchment in Christchurch, New Zealand. Sustainability, 13(12), 6732.

Dang, A., Jackson, B., Benavidez, R., & Tomscha, S., (2021) Review of ecosystem service assessments: Pathways for policy integration in Southeast Asia. Ecosystem Services, 49.

Delpy, F., Pedersen-Zari, M., Jackson, B., Benavidez, R., & Westend, T. (2021) Ecosystem Services Assessment Tools for Regenerative Urban Design in Oceania. Sustainability, 13(5).

Tomscha, S., Bentley, S., Platzer, E., Jackson, B., de Roiste, M., Hartley, S., Norton, K., & Deslippe, J. (2021). Multiple methods confirm wetland restoration improves ecosystem services. Ecosystems and People, 17(1).

Pedersen Zari, M., Blaschke, P., Jackson, B., Komugabe-Dixson, A., Livesey, C., Loubser, D., Gual, C., Maxwell, D., Rastandeh, A., Renwick, J., Weaver, S., & Archie, K. (2019). Devising urban ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) projects with developing nations: A case study of Port Vila, Vanuatu. Ocean & Coastal Management.

Tomscha, S., Deslippe, J., De Róiste, M., Hartley, S., & Jackson, B. (2019). Uncovering the ecosystem services legacies of wetland loss using high-resolution models. Ecosphere, 10(1), e02888.

Taylor, A., Jackson, B., & Metherell, A. (2018). Evaluating the uncertainties in New Zealand’s GIS datasets; understanding where and when frameworks such as LUCI can enable robust decisions surrounding farm management practices. In: Farm environmental planning – Science, policy and practice. (Eds L. D. Currie and C. L. Christensen). Occasional Report No. 31. Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Rogers, M., Jackson, B., De Róiste, M., Palomino-Schalscha, M., Tyler, C., & Mitchell, C. (2018). Prototype Testing of LUCI Software for Determining on Farm Nutrient Losses and Mitigation Options in the Mangatarere Catchment. In: Farm environmental planning – Science, policy and practice. (Eds L. D. Currie and C. L. Christensen). Occasional Report No. 31. Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Sharps, K., Masante, D., Thomas, A., Jackson, B., Redhead, J., May, L., Prosser, H., Cosby, B., Emmett, B., & Jones, L. (2017). Comparing strengths and weaknesses of three ecosystem services modelling tools in a diverse UK river catchmentScience of the Total Environment, 584, 118-130.

Trodahl, M. I., Jackson, B. M., Deslippe, J. R., & Metherell, A. K. (2017). Investigating trade-offs between water quality and agricultural productivity using the Land Utilisation and Capability Indicator (LUCI) – a New Zealand applicationEcosystem Services, 26, 388-399.

 Maxwell, D., Robinson, D. A., Thomas, A., Jackson, B., Maskell, L., Jones, D. L., & Emmett, B. A. (2017). Potential contribution of soil diversity and abundance metrics to identifying high nature value farmland (HNV)Geoderma, 305, 417-432.

 Trodahl, M., Burkitt, L., Bretherton, M., Deslippe, J., Jackson, B. & Metherell, A. (2017). Developing N & P Export Coefficients for Rural Landscape Modelling in LUCI. In: Science and policy: nutrient management challenges for the next generation. (Eds L.D. Currie and M.J. Hedley). Occasional Report No. 30. Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. 

Benavidez, R., Jackson, B., Maxwell, D., & Paringit, E. (2016). Improving predictions of the effects of extreme events, land use, and climate change on the hydrology of watersheds in the PhilippinesProceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 373, 147-151. 

Jackson, B., Metherell, A., Roberts, A., Trodahl, M., & White, M. (2016). Adaption of the LUCI framework to account for detailed farm management: a case study exploring potential for nutrient mitigation using data from the Southland Demonstration Farm. In: Integrated nutrient and water management for sustainable farming. (Eds L.D. Currie and R. Singh). Occasional Report No. 29. Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Ballinger, J., Jackson, B., Pechlivanidis, I., & Ries, W. (2011). Potential flooding and inundation on the Hutt River. Wellington.

Accomplished student Projects

LUCI has been used in several student projects and theses for a range of topics in the social, biological, and geophysical sciences.

  • Rogers, M. (2018). Perception of tools for assessing on-farm nutrient losses and mitigation options. (Master's thesis). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

Maggie Rogers worked with farmers, DOC and regional councils to find suitable and appropriate mitigation opportunities to achieve a range of environmental benefits including reducing nutrient loads, while maintaining agricultural productivity. Maggie used LUCI in her Masters degree to model the farms and predict where interventions are most suited to each landscape.

  • Benavidez, R. (2018). Understanding the effect of changing land use on floods and soil erosion in the Cagayan de Oro catchment. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

Rubianca Benavidez is interested in understanding the effects of changing land use of watersheds in the Philippines. As part of her PhD, she has set up, parameterised and applied LUCI to the Cagayan de Oro watershed. She used the outputs from LUCI to identify areas that provided ecosystem services (flood mitigation, soil erosion vulnerability, nutrient transport) that changed under different land cover scenarios. Her work also contributed to further development of LUCI's soil erosion model, inundation model, and rainfall-runoff model.

  • Taylor, Alicia. (2018). Evaluating the sensitivity of the LUCI model to GIS datasets to enable robust farm management decisions in New Zealand. (Master's thesis). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

Alicia Taylor investigated the uncertainties and sensitivities of LUCI output to inaccuracies in the model’s driving data. In her Masters, she quantified and evaluated differences in LUCI predictions resulting from DEMs and soil information of differing resolution and detailed. This was done to assess the reliability of different input data, and to provide valuable feedback to farmers on the hydrological dynamics of their land.

  • Trodahl, M. (2018). Improving and parameterising nitrogen and phosphorus modelling for application of LUCI in New Zealand. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

Martha Trodahl’s PhD involved the parameterisation of national scale modelling of macro-nutrient emissions to water and the identification of critical source areas for Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Martha also used the information to identify areas where mitigation could effectively be targeted by undertaking land management change scenario modelling to allow provision of mitigation strategy advice.

  • Scott, N. (2017). Facilitating informed land-use decisions through the modelling of ecosystem service trade-offs. (Master's thesis). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

Nicola Scott’s thesis considered the degree to which presenting information on land-use trade-offs through a framework such as LUCI will impact on future land-use decisions by property owners at the farm scale. Innovative tools such as LUCI are ideally placed to support farmers and the agricultural sector as they move through periods of change, but only if they can be presented in a way that is practical, credible and acceptable to them.

  • Marapara, T. (2016). Eco-hydrology interactions between trees, soil and water in terrestrial and wetland areas: The effect of tree planting on water flow dynamics in Wairarapa Wetlands, New Zealand. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

Tapuwa Marapara used LUCI along with data collected in a field experiment as part of his PhD to determine appropriate areas where intervention can be targeted to optimise the role of trees as flood mitigating tools in previously forested wetlands undergoing restoration.

  • Easton, S. (2015). Irrigation and Ecosystem Services: development of an irrigation model for the LUCI ecosystem services framework. (Master's thesis). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

Stuart Easton developed SLIM – the Spatially-explicit LUCI Irrigation Model, to produce maps that show the efficiency and effectiveness of different irrigation programmes. SLIM takes in irrigation information and tells users whether they are over or under-watering. It allows users to examine trade-offs between production and environmental outcomes.

  • Ballinger, J. (2011). Natural Buffer Placement and Downstream Flood Mitigation in Rural Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. (Master's thesis). Retrieve from ResearchArchive.

John Ballinger used LUCI (then called POLYSCAPE) to investigate flood mitigation within the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand using DEMs of differing resolutions, and land use-rainfall scenarios. Testing the different DEMs elucidate the resolution that was likely to be appropriate for detailed hydrological modelling at the farm scale. The effectiveness of natural buffers to mitigate floods was tested in the land use-rainfall scenarios.

Current student projects

Dang Anh Nguyet is furthering LUCI development through applying the model to the Vietnam Mekong Delta in order to support sustainable management of ecosystem services mainly through nature-based water resources management. Anh aims to use LUCI to map multiple services and identify where synergies exist for win-win solutions that ultimately contribute to sustainability of the delta and local farmers' well-being.

Michelle Schurrmann is looking at further improving the estimation of crop evapotranspiration in LUCI. This research aims to develop a better understanding of how different orchard designs (canopy designs, row width and orientation etc.) affect canopy light interception (which drives crop productivity), and how this ultimately affects crop evapotranspiration and crop water use. Michelle will also explore whether variables such as canopy light interception can be collected through remote sensing techniques.

Thuy Thi Nguyen is doing her PhD entitled “Climate-responsive urban design for low-lying coastal regions”. Her aim is to apply LUCI in designing process and assessment of climate responsive adaptation solutions in the Ōtākaro/Avon River, Christchurch. With the combination of green and grey infrastructure, it will help Christchurch and other low-lying coastal regions achieve climate regulation, carbon storing, waste decomposition and clean air and water.