We’ve built science advances co-developed with end users into our free, open-source tools to make the science accessible and useful in real decisions. Download our tools and check out their documentation here. Find more information about testing, validation, and application of these tools in our library.
InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) is a suite of models used to map and value the goods and services from nature that sustain and fulfill human life. It helps explore how changes in ecosystems can lead to changes in the flows of many different benefits to people.
RIOS supports the design of cost-effective investments in watershed services. The Resource Investment Optimization System (RIOS) provides a standardized, science-based approach to watershed management in contexts throughout the world. It combines biophysical, social, and economic data to help users identify the best locations for protection and restoration activities to maximize the ecological return on investment, within the bounds of what is socially and politically feasible.
OPAL is a tool for quantifying the impacts of development and the value of potential protection or restoration activities to biodiversity and ecosystem services. OPAL helps identify mitigation options that can restore ecosystem service benefits back to the same people affected by a development project and tracks the amount of mitigation needed to meet biodiversity and ecosystem service mitigation targets. OPAL combines widely available ecological and social data along with the Natural Capital Project’s spatially explicit InVEST ecosystem service models to recommend offset parcels based on flexible, user-defined criteria.
OPAL is a generalized version of the MAFE-T tool that we built specifically to inform permitting and mitigation decisions in Colombia. You can download the MAFE-T tool, the user’s guide, and the MAFE-T sample project footprints.
PyGeoProcessing is a programmable, open source, and free GIS processing library. We built it to support our InVEST ecosystem service software, but it can be used for applications unrelated to ecosystem services. This is a tool for developers, built with their needs and data in mind.
The Marine Planning Concierge is a website that connects users to resources for using ecosystem services in marine planning, with the aim of making it easier to learn about, get inspired by, and implement marine planning. Similar to the help desk located in a hotel lobby, the Concierge provides clear, modular advice for any stage of the planning process and offers a curated library of useful resources. The Concierge also describes and links to examples of how we and others engaging in marine planning processes around the world have gotten over common hurdles, such as how to move forward when data is scarce, how to synthesize and visualize data from different sources and units, or where to go for help when the tools you’re using are beyond your technical expertise. The Concierge also connects users to helper tools that make it easier to use InVEST.
When translating policy to planning, it is often important to take guidelines (or “storylines”) and examine how they might play out across space. The Scenario Generator offers a relatively simple method of generating scenarios based on user-defined principles of where land changes could occur and the possible extent of these changes. It can be used to create alternate futures, the likely outcomes of which can be compared using InVEST. Along with our other helper tools, the Scenario Generator is available within the InVEST software package.
We are constantly experimenting with new tools and new ways to make ecosystem service science accessible. In addition to our InVEST Helper Tools, we have some “experimental tools” which are independent from the InVEST suite. Please be sure to check out the experimental tools thread on our Forums to learn more.
We strive to make our tools user-friendly, but there is a lot to learn, not only about how to use the tools, but also about how to use an ecosystem services approach in the real world. We have developed a range of offerings to help you get started and hone your skills.
Take one of our free on-line courses for an introduction to NatCap’s approach to using ecosystem service information to inform decisions. Learn about real-world examples to see how the approach has worked in particular places and see how key methods and tools helped effect change.
We are excited about new collaborations and convenings. It will take a large community of researchers and practitioners working together and sharing lessons to effect the fundamental shift in natural resource decision-making that we seek.
There is a broad spectrum of potential involvement with NatCap: from simply downloading and using our tools through to fundraising together to support collaborative work on new use cases, scientific research, and software development. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss collaboration beyond our on-line offerings and our in-person trainings.
A key piece of who we are is our people. When we’ve got a job opening, we seek creative, talented, dedicated people who work well on interdisciplinary teams and who love a good challenge.