To manage the environment as an asset, we need practical ways to turn the principles into action. These ways need to work in our profession or our employer. They need to work for the local community, our client, or the location that we care about.
Different words are used to describe these ways: guidance, methods, tools and toolkits. See our guidance page for links to resources that help us learn more generally about how to manage the environment as an asset in our work area.
Tools help us get a practical job done. We think there are basically two types:
- Analytical tools - things that process data and information that describe the environment as an asset and the benefits that flow from it.
- Method tools - things that set out the steps we need to take as we work, but don't themselves analyse data and information.
Tool Assessor is a new part of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network website that provides information about analytical tools.
How you can use Tool Assessor:
- read profiles of analytical tools - there are currently 12 tool profiles
- use the search function - identify tools that meet particular needs
- provide comments on tools if you have used them - help us grow our user community so people can learn from each other
Examples of these tools include:
- EcoServ-GIS, an open-source software application for mapping ecosystem services (things that the natural environment does for people) at the county and landscape scale.
- InVEST, a set of open-source software models used to map and value the goods and services from the natural environment.
- The Natural Capital Planning Tool, developed for Birmingham by consultant CEEP, the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development and Birmingham City Council.
These tools provide help and guidance on how to go about managing your local environment. Examples include:
- The NEAT (National Ecosystem Approach Toolkit) tool identifies ways that communicate nature's role in society as part of plan-making and decision-making.
- The Local Environment and Economic Development toolkit produced by Natural England.
- The Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) was produced by a range of conservation organisations to guide land use decisions.
- A Corporate Ecosystem Valuation Guide was produced by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development to guide businesses in assessment of risks and opportunities arising from the natural environment.
- Talking about our Place toolkit published by Scottish Natural Heritage provides guidance, resources and ideas to help local groups think about and discuss the landscapes in which they are situated.
- The Ecosystem Service Transfer Toolkit produced by Natural England. The toolkit is a literature review of the effect of land management on the provision of ecosystem services. It is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet which can be queried to find evidence of the effects of specific land management actions on ecosystem services. This page also features a series of evidence review fact sheets on managing ecosystem services, which are a synthesis of the literature review in the Toolkit.