Co$ting Nature


Co$ting Nature is a web based policy-support tool for natural capital accounting and analysis of the ecosystem services provided by natural environments. The focus is on costing nature (understanding the resource, e.g. the land area, and the opportunity cost of protecting nature to produce ecosystem services) as opposed to valuing nature (i.e. how much someone is willing to pay for it).  The tool estimates the current provision of water, carbon and tourism services and identifies the beneficiaries, then analyses current environmental pressures, future threats and conservation priority.  Users can then apply scenarios for climate, land-use or land management change, and examine the impacts on ecosystem services and the implications for beneficiaries. The tool can be used to assess the impacts of human interventions for conservation prioritisation and planning.


Global spatial data (GIS, remote sensing) at 1 square km or 1 ha resolution is provided by the tool. Users can also provide their own datasets.

Local scale
Landscape scale
Regional scale
National scale
Cost of the tool (and guidance): 
Open access (free)
A range of land-uses
Resource requirement (software): 
The internet (it works best in Chrome or Mozilla Firefox); GIS software to view or analyse output maps (not essential).
Level of technical expertise required: 
Internet use skills
Types of ecosystem service included: 
Habitat type (UK NEA habitats): 
Mountains, moors and heaths
Semi-natural grasslands
Enclosed farmland
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
How does it work?: 

Co$ting Nature incorporates detailed global datasets, spatial models for biophysical and socioeconomic processes and scenarios for climate and land-use. It calculates a baseline for current ecosystem service provision (1950-2000). It also allows interventions (policy options) or scenarios of change to be used to understand their impact on ecosystem service delivery.  By combining more than 80 input maps, the tool calculates the spatial distribution of ecosystem services for water, carbon and tourism and combines these with maps of conservation priority, threatened biodiversity and endemism to understand the spatial distribution of critical ecosystems. These data are combined with human pressures and future threats to determine conservation priorities. Outputs are a series of summary maps expressed in relative terms (0 - 1) which combine the outputs from the different modules (ecosystem service bundles).

Where can I get it?:


For references e.g. [01] see the reference list