Methods, principles and checklists

The following are a selection of ways in which the value of the natural environment can be assessed and communicated. It forms part of the Tool Assessor service provided by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network.

Enabling a Natural Capital Approach

Launched in 2020, the Enabling a Natural Capital Approach (ENCA) resource comprises data, guidance and tools to help professionals understand natural capital and to know how to take it into account. It has produced by Defra and is referenced in HM Treasury's Green Book.

Natural Capital Evidence Handbook

The Natural Capital Evidence Handbook offers guidance on how to gain a shared strategic understanding of the natural environment in any one place, using evidence of nature's value.  It has been prepared by Natural England. The recording of a webinar to introduce the Handbook is available here.

Linking Environment and Economic Development

The Local Environment and Economic Development (LEED) Toolkit is designed to help Local Enterprise Partnerships and their partners with economic development in ways that gain growth benefits from the natural environment and help avoid future costs to growth that could arise from the natural environment.  It was developed by Natural England, but will also be of interest to enterprise and economic development initiatives elsewhere in the UK. The Toolkit was developed in 2015.

The Place Standard

The Place Standard tool provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place. 'Natural space' is a criterion within this. It allows users to think about the physical elements of a place as well as the social aspects. The Place Standard has been developed by Scottish Government and partners, but could be applied in any location around the UK.


The TESSA toolkit is a workbook that leads the user through the steps needed to assess the ecosystem services provided at a particular site. It is built around a comparison of the site in two alternative states (such as before and after restoration or conversion). TESSA includes an introduction to the concepts of ecosystem services and natural capital, guidance on how to conduct a preliminary scoping appraisal to identify important services and beneficiaries. There are links to methods for measuring ecosystem services.

Ecosystem services assessment: How to do one in practice

Published by the Institution of Environmental Sciences in 2013, this guide is intended to take users through the main steps in preparing for and undertaking an ecosystem services assessment.  It is written for a wide range of purposes in mind, ranging from localised habitat enhancements or planning determinations through to large-scale industrial or flood risk projects.

We Value Nature Natural Capital Assessment Module

Using the Natural Capital Protocol as a basis, this module provides guidance on how a business can undertake a first natural capital assessment with a view to "integrate nature into decision-making". This resource has been developed by We Value Nature, an initiative seeking to ensure the improved valuation of nature among businesses across Europe. The module was launched in 2020.

Corporate Natural Capital Accounting

The Natural Capital Committee for England commissioned the development of this system for measuring and valuing natural capital over time, along with the explicit recognition of the funding that is required for its maintenance and enhancement. It is designed for organisations that are responsible for, or rely on, an aspect of the natural environment. The CNCA framework was first published in 2015.

Natural Capital Committee Workbook

This document was written in 2017 by an independent advisory committee appointed by HM Government in relation to England. According to the authors, it provides a "practical five step model intended to support decision makers, including planners, communities and landowners, in protecting and improving their local environment and natural capital."