Oceans, forests, farms, ranch lands and other open spaces provide clean air and water, food, climate stabilization, recreation and jobs. These ecosystem services and benefits are factoring into land and water-use decisions facing today’s resource managers, regional planners and other local, state and national officials.

The Natural Capital Project is illustrating just how much our ecological resources are worth to society by quantifying the value of these resources to the public and by predicting benefits from investments in nature. Working with experts and leaders of key institutions around the world, the Natural Capital Project is integrating biophysical and socio-economic understanding of natural assets into models that are used in real land- and water-use decisions. The vehicles for this understanding are credible, open-source, and practical software-based tools. Natural Capital Project researchers co-develop new science and tools with resource managers and investors so they are immediately relevant and easy to use. These tools enable decision-makers not only to maximize the societal value of lands, waters, and marine systems, but also to evaluate potential decisions on conservation and human development activities and investments in natural resources. NatCap’s approach and tools are demonstrating in diverse places and decision contexts around the world that incorporating the true value of our natural landscapes can lead to more environmentally sustainable development outcomes. This approach holds the promise of transforming how governments, multi-lateral institutions, and businesses factor the values of nature into policy and decision-making. 

The Natural Capital Project is a joint venture with The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund and the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

More information: naturalcapitalproject.org