Institute on the Environment joins forces with international Natural Capital Project

New partnership links IonE with Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund

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Todd Reubold, Institute on the Environment,, (612) 624-6140
Jeff Falk, University News Service,, (612) 626-1720

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (6/29/2010) – The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Natural Capital Project, a worldwide effort to align economic forces with conservation.  The other partners include Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.

Founded in 2006, the Natural Capital Project aims to mainstream the values of nature into major resource decisions.  Working with public, private and nonprofit partners around the world, “NatCap” is developing practical, science-based software for mapping and valuing societal benefits provided by healthy ecosystems. The Natural Capital Project is using this software in major policy decisions now underway in Canada, China, Hawai`i, Indonesia, South America and Tanzania.

Acara Challenge 2010 - U of M winnersThe Natural Capital Project is led by an interdisciplinary team of scientists and project leaders from Stanford, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. U of M applied economics professor Steve Polasky, an IonE resident fellow, is one of the leaders of the project’s ecosystem service mapping and valuation effort. This new partnership will increase opportunities for collaboration between IonE and other Natural Capital researchers and collaborators.

“We would be nowhere without the world-class expertise and experience from U of M, and we’re thrilled to recognize that formally now by teaming up as full partners,” said Gretchen Daily, Stanford-based co-founder and Chair of the Project.

"The Natural Capital Project is one of the most important environmental projects in the world,” said Jon Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment.  “It's answering one of the really big questions: how much is nature worth, and how do we start to include ecosystem goods and services into our economic system? By joining this project, the Institute on the Environment will be working with world-class ecologists, economists and practitioners, and in return, we will be contributing our expertise in ecological economics, land use and agriculture, and environmental systems modeling.  It's a fabulous partnership for everyone involved."

To learn more about the Natural Capital Project, visit