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Prosperity springs from nature.


At The Natural Capital Project we’re developing practical tools and approaches to account for nature’s contributions to society, so that leaders of countries, companies, communities, and organizations worldwide can make smarter decisions for a more secure future.


Valuing natural capital can work for you.



Whether you’re drafting a sustainable coastal development plan, devising a mitigation project or designing an urban park, natural capital analysis can help you visualize trade-offs and identify the most beneficial options.

How do we know it works?

Dig into our work testing the benefits of natural capital valuation.


Learn more about the science of natural capital, from tracing how water flows through a landscape to managing risks in a dynamic future.


Browse our publications library to see how rapidly the science and real-world applications of natural capital approaches are evolving.


Find stories about people using natural capital in a wide array of decisions.

Dive In.

We are contributing to a rapidly growing science of natural capital, exploring biophysical, social, economic, governance, cultural, and other dimensions. We’ve translated some of what’s been learned into free and open-source software, designed to help anyone assess the role of natural capital in their social and ecological systems, even in places with little data and limited technology.

Try our tools, take one of our online courses, come to a training, get help on our online forum, collaborate with us, or come share your stories at one of our events.


What we’re up to.

Catch up on the latest news and events at The Natural Capital Project.

NatCap featured in NYT Science

In “A Shifting Approach to Saving Endangered Species” the New York Times consults various environmental groups, including NatCap co-founders Gretchen Daily, Peter Kareiva and Taylor Ricketts.

Gretchen Daily, a professor of environmental sciences at Stanford and a founder, with Dr. Kareiva and two others, of the Natural Capital Project, said that the Endangered Species Act, by focusing on individual species and emphasizing regulation over incentives, had pitted land users against conservationists and “never really cultivated the view that we could harmonize human activity with conservation.”

As a result, conservation has been “a lose-lose battle,” said Dr. Daily, who is an author of “The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable,” an influential 2002 book.

She and other scientists said that the law could not hope to address the challenges of a world where whole ecosystems were threatened and vast areas of habitat were disappearing.”

 The article links to Peter Kareiva et. al.’s Conservation in the Anthropocene article and concludes with a statement from NatCap co-founder Taylor Ricketts, who underscores how nature can be valued for its intrinsic contributions and for the services it provides, at the same time.

I don’t see why it’s a problem to talk on several levels about the importance of conserving nature,” said Taylor Ricketts, the director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont and a founder of The Natural Capital Project. He added, “The big mistake has been to frame this as a choice.”

Oct 13 - Come Celebrate NatCap's Tenth Anniversary

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 3 p.m.

Oberndorf Event Center, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Celebrating a decade of The Natural Capital Project’s impact — past, present, and future — we are hosting a symposium featuring two one-hour panels. The first will discuss natural capital investment initiatives in China, Myanmar, and Mozambique; and the second session will consider frontiers in ecosystem services, such as improving urban livability, opportunities for new academic research, working with development banks as they green their investment portfolios, and how technology start-ups are pursuing natural capital.

Learn more and RSVP

New Studies Show How Valuing Nature is Transforming Decisions

In the decade since publication of the landmark U.N. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, scientists, policymakers, nonprofit organizations and corporations have worked together to incorporate the value of nature in economic and social development plans. The striking accomplishments of these partnerships are profiled in a new series of research papers published in the June 16 2015 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The Special Feature shows how the science and practice of ecosystem services – the benefits nature provides – has matured. The Special Feature was led and edited by University of Minnesota economist Steve Polasky (a co-founder of The Natural Capital Project) and Oregon State University ecologist Jane Lubchenco. See the collected papers at PNAS:  http://www.pnas.org/cgi/collection/nature_capital

Stockholm Summit on Natural Capital

Together with esteemed colleagues and institutions in Stockholm (the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Beijer Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and The Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Program of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences), we convened the Stockholm Summit on Natural Capital, May 19-20.