Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST)

Source: InVEST

InVEST is a free, open-source software suite developed by the Natural Capital Project of Stanford University. It helps map and value ecosystem services that are crucial for human well-being, such as food production and water purification. The tool is used by a variety of entities like governments and corporations to evaluate trade-offs among multiple uses of natural resources. It offers models for different types of ecosystems like terrestrial, freshwater, and marine. The tool produces spatially-explicit models, outputting data in maps that can be tailored for local, regional, or global analyses. The models account for both the supply of services from ecosystems and the location of beneficiaries. Outputs can be in biophysical or economic terms, such as tons of carbon sequestered or its net present value. The Natural Capital Project aims to motivate greater investment in natural capital and incorporate its value into decision-making processes, aiming to shift the paradigm to one where natural capital is better understood and managed.

Ecosystem Service Categories

InVest is a specialized tool that enables decision makers to assess quantified tradeoffs associated with alternative management choices and to identify areas where investment in natural capital can enhance human development and conservation. The toolset includes distinct ecosystem service models designed for terrestrial, freshwater, marine, and coastal ecosystems.

Ecosystem Services Classified

Offshore Wind Energy

Habitat Risk Assessment

Coastal Vulnerability

Crop Pollination

Urban Cooling

Sediment Retention

Scenic Quality

Reservoir Hydropower Production (Water Yield)

Crop Production

Water Purification


Wave Energy


Urban Stormwater Retention

Seasonal Water Yield

Coastal Blue Carbon

Urban Flood Risk Mitigation

Habitat Quality

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