Tools & Software

Marie Donahue works on NatCap software

NatCap co-develops and supports innovative ecosystem services models, tools and software that map ecosystem services, support decisions and engage stakeholders to build understanding and capacity in the evaluation of ecosystem services trade-offs.


Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) is the Natural Capital Project’s flagship tool. It includes 18 different models for mapping and valuing services provided by terrestrial and marine ecosystems.


Mapping Ecosystem Services to Human well-being (MESH) calculates and maps ecosystem service supply under different landscape management scenarios. The tool automatically creates input data and allows a user to define scenarios and choose different ecosystem service models from the NatCap InVEST toolkit, then displays outputs without the need for GIS software. Learn more about MESH and download it here. MESH is currently in beta development, so please check our forums to report bugs and give feedback as we move towards the full MESH 1.0 release in 2016.

NatCap scientist Justin Johnson developed MESH in partnership with the Natural Capital Project, Bioversity International, Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research and Columbia University, supported by Science for Nature and People and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

Read about the software’s launch and a recent application of MESH in the context of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals here.


Currently under development, Restoration Opportunities Optimization Tool (ROOT) allows users to examine trade-offs between different ecosystem services and other objectives to inform management, investment and research. Led by NatCap scientist Peter Hawthorne, ROOT is being tested in both forest restoration and agricultural landscape planning contexts to assist in multi-objective decision-making — such as how to maximize ecosystem services provisioning while minimizing restoration costs. Financial and institutional support for the development of this tool has been provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

Water Quality Valuation Guide

IonE NatCap scientists are developing new guidance and an interactive decision support website to help users value water-related ecosystem services — from scoping relevant types of services for a given problem to exploring differences between market and nonmarket valuation methods and corresponding data needs. This project is supported with technology innovations funding from the Google Foundation.

Other NatCap Software

NatCap has built science advances and co-developed tools with end users through free, open-source tools to make ecosystem services science more accessible and useful in real decisions. We are constantly experimenting with new ways to make ecosystem service science accessible, and we have a variety of other existing software and tools that aim to do just that. Check out these other NatCap software tools here.