LUCI explores the capability of a landscape to provide a variety of ecosystem services, such as agricultural production, erosion control, carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, habitat provision etc. It compares the services provided by the current utilisation of the landscape to estimates of its potential capability, and uses this information to identify areas where change might be beneficial, and where maintenance of the status quo might be desirable.

The following services are currently modelled by LUCI:

Service Method


Based on slope, fertility, drainage, aspect


IPCC Tier 1 - based on soil and vegetation


Detailed topographical routing of water accounting for storage and infiltration capacity as function of soil and land use.


Slope, curvature, contributing area, land use, soil type

Sediment delivery

Erosion combined with detailed topographical routing

Water quality

Export coefficients combined with water flow and sediment delivery models

Habitat (Approach A)

BEETLE - Forest Research's cost-distance approach to dispersal, examines connectivity

Habitat (Approach B)

Identification of priority habitat by biophysical requirements e.g. wet grassland

Tradeoffs/synergy identification

Various layering options with categorised service maps; e.g. Boolean, conservative, weighted arithmetic


LUCI is a second generation extension and accompanying software implementation of the Polyscape framework as described in: Jackson, B, Pagella, T, Sinclair, F, Orellana, B, Henshaw, A, McIntyre, N, Reynolds, B, Wheater, H, Eycott, A (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.
The LUCI framework is designed to follow the following principles:

Practical Conceptual

Can be run using nationally available data; i.e. available everywhere so relevant to national spatial planning

Operates at a spatial scale relevant for field and sub-field level management decisions

Modular - can embed other models & aspects can be embedded in other models (LUCI is a framework)

"Values" features and potential interventions by area affected, not just area directly modified

Fast running to enable "real time" scenario exploration

Addresses tradeoffs and searches for "win-win" solutions


Where can I access LUCI?

LUCI is not yet released for general use. We already are supporting a limited number of external users, and are unable to support further applications.

There will be a staged release, with applications in Wales and NZ proceeding first, followed by England and Scotland. We anticipate the Welsh and New Zealand versions becoming generally available by the end of 2016. As applications in other countries are in much earlier stages of testing and development, we are not yet able to commit to specific timelines. The release timelines will be notified via this website www.lucitools.org

Can you keep me updated on progress?

Sure, email us at info@lucitools.org and we will put you on our contacts list. We'll email you when there are major developments in the programme. We are currently working hard on testing and documentation so that we can put together a timeline for the tool's release.

I'm interested in using LUCI - what information do you need from me?

Tell us:

Email all enquiries to info@lucitools.org

Will LUCI work in my region?

A number of national datasets are supported for UK and NZ applications. For other countries we are in the process of matching land cover and soil information into supported classification systems. We are working on setting up LUCI to support global, European and USA datasets at the moment. We expect these to be ready for trialling at some point in 2016, and will be looking for a limited number of partners to help us test and adjust/refine as necessary before general release.

Please also note LUCI has been best established in temperate regions with varied topography. Although we are beginning to bring in consideration of other geoclimatic regions, e.g. alpine and other cold environments, arid regions, etc, it is likely to be several years before we consider LUCI robust in such areas. We'll update as we learn more.

In addition to NZ and the UK, the team is exploring applications in Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Due to limited resources we are unlikely to be able to meet requests from outside these areas in the short term.

What are the minimum data requirements to run LUCI?

You'll need ESRI's ArcGIS 10.1 or above to run the software. As a minimum, you also need the following.

Please note that the ability of the team to support your requirements will depend on your geographical area of interest and what datasets you are using.

How much will the software cost?

Our vision is for LUCI to be freely available for use by not-for-profit organisations (including university, other educational and government applications). At the moment, requests for using the model are assessed on a case-by-case basis, depending on data requirements and existing team commitments.

Who can I contact about LUCI?

Please send your enquiries to info@lucitools.org.

How is LUCI different from other models?

LUCI is unique. It is the only model of this type with the ability to be applied from small (sub-field) to nation-wide scales simultaneously. It is designed to be simple and transparent, with the ability for engagement by (and customisation for) stakeholders. LUCI uses innovative algorithms that maintain biophysical principles and spatial connections, but which are orders of magnitude faster than previous approaches.

Why should I use LUCI?

Whether LUCI is the best model for you depends on the questions you want answered! There are several other ecosystem service models out there, with their own unique characteristics and strengths, and with different selections of supported services. The best model for you depends on your specific needs, and the data (and computer and time resources) available to you.

LUCI is particularly useful if you are interested inthe cumulative impact of many small features (or changes to these features) in the landscape on a variety of ecosystem services. For example,if you are a land manager you can explore how riparian planting might change river water flow and quality, or where you might be able to plantrees to improve drainage on your land and provide shelter for stock. If you are managing a catchment, you could investigate where and how you could retain water in the upper catchment to improve flood protection downstream.

Will LUCI tell me exactly how to manage an area?

No. LUCI is a model which explores landscape capabilities. It doesn't tell the user exactly what should be done where. LUCI is more of a negotiation tool to see where in a landscape change might be useful. So while LUCI might indicate areas with good potential for, say, food production, it doesn't make judgements on which methods might be appropriate to reach the land manager's goals. Methods to realise the potential of land could include land use change, but might also include (for example) new management or engineering initiatives.

Do you have any publications I could read?

More general information about LUCI can be found neat.ecosystemsknowledge.net/LUCI-mapping-tool.html. If you have journal access:

What is the connection with LUC?

LUC stands for Land Use Capacity. It's an acronym used by New Zealand Crown Research Institute Landcare Research. The LUC system classifies land according to what makes that land able to sustain long-term production. For more information, follow this link:

What is the connection with the Land Use Change and Intensification Programme? Isn't that also called LUCI?

The Land Use Change and Intensification Programme is a separate initiative led by New Zealand Crown Research Institute Plant and Food Research. Find out more at:


Coming soon...


Email: info@lucitools.org