InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs)


InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs) is a suite of open-source software models for mapping and valuing the ecosystem services provided by land and seascapes. It uses data about the environment to explore how changes in ecosystems are likely to affect the flow of benefits to people. It is designed to inform decisions about natural resource management.


Predominantly GIS / map data; information tables (usually.csv format)

Quantitative data on ecosystem services
Tables / statistics / reports
Site scale
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): 
All InVEST models are available as stand-alone software. Models can be run through a graphical user interface or directly in python, for users with coding skills. You will need a mapping software such as QGIS or ArcGIS to prepare certain inputs and to perform any further analysis (e.g., overlays). No specific software is needed to view TIFF outputs. For more info on using InVEST directly in python: Applications may also be written using InVEST models via its python API.
Level of technical expertise required: 
Basic – intermediate GIS skills
Types of ecosystem service included: 
Habitat type (UK NEA habitats): 
Mountains, moors and heaths
Semi-natural grasslands
Enclosed farmland
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Coastal margins
How does it work?: 

InVEST is designed to inform decisions about natural resource management in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.  The models use input data (map/GIS data and information in tables) to explore how changes in ecosystems are likely to affect the flow of benefits provided to people. 

It consists of 22 software models (there are currently (as of 3.9.0) 22 models (not including routing, watershed delineation utilities, not including preprocessors, RBSG) for mapping and valuing ecosystem services, plus a number of supporting tools to help with preparing, processing and visualising data.  Models can be applied at multiple scales.  Most models use a 'production function' approach, meaning that the ecosystem service output (map) is derived using information about environmental condition and processes. The final map result is expressed in either biophysical terms (i.e. a quantity) or economic terms. InVEST is suitable for users who wish to look at multiple services or have multiple objectives for their area of interest.