By 2020, CI and partners will routinely derive and use the values of ecosystem services to inform development and conservation decision-making. These efforts will underscore nature’s contributions to human well-being and economic development, highlight societal perspectives on nature, and make clear the needs and preferences of stakeholders. 

Natural capital – the stock of natural resources that provide benefits to people – contributes enormously to the prosperity and security of societies worldwide. These direct and indirect benefits from nature, known as “ecosystem services,” are largely invisible in the economy and are often taken for granted by policymakers.  Greater understanding of the value of ecosystems is essential for decision-making that sustains ecosystems and the people who depend upon them.  Understanding the values of ecosystems, for example, allows CI to identify and focus on places with the greatest potential to benefit society – and to ensure that nature’s benefits are considered by government, corporate, and community decision-makers.  Accordingly, we propose a focused investment in CI research, technical assistance, and capacity-building that will advance scientific understanding of the values of ecosystems – and use these novel insights to foster development planning built upon a foundation of stewardship and nature conservation. This work will build upon existing CI efforts to document the values of ecosystems and advance nature-based approaches to sustainable development.


Advance scientific understanding of ecosystem values to society. 


Ensure that ecosystem values are recognized within public and private sector decision-making


 Enhance capacity of public, private, and nonprofit organizations to document the value of ecosystems to society and integrate these values within decisions.


Image ©Benjamin Drummond