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Policy support tool

Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST)

Using the resource
Requirements for using the resource:
<li>InVEST models can be run independently, or as script tools in the ArcGIS ArcToolBox environment.</li>
<li>You will need a mapping software such as QGIS or ArcGIS to view your results.</li>
<li>Running InVEST effectively does not require knowledge of Python programming, but it does require basic to intermediate skills in GIS software.</li>
Potential benefits from using the resource
Any GIS software can be used
The Natural Capital Project ( provides a standalone version of the tool, so there is no need for ArcGIS
A complete set of tools is available, and a wide community of users is active around the world, all information is available here:
The tool is modular in the sense that you do not have to model all the ecosystem services listed, but rather can select only those of interest.
The spatial resolution of analyses is also flexible, allowing users to address questions at local, regional, or global scales.
Potential limitations from using the resource
Previous versions of InVEST were provided as a toolbox to ArcInfo from ESRI but the latest version is a stand-alone version
Data preparation needs vary with the individual sub-models. Some such as climate regulation are not intensive in terms of data needs, however, data preparation for other ES can be quite long and demanding.
A good knowledge of spatial data formats is needed
The user can not verify and control the intermediate steps of the models
Scale of application:
Practical information
UN languages in which the resource is available:
Development stage:
Full, working product
Contact details
Dr Paula Harrison
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InVEST is a suite of free, open-source software models used to map and value the goods and services from nature that sustain and fulfill human life. The models are spatially-explicit, using maps as information sources and producing maps as outputs. They return results in either biophysical terms (e.g., tons of carbon sequestered) or economic terms (e.g. net present value of that sequestered carbon). InVEST models are based on production functions that define how changes in an ecosystem’s structure and function are likely to affect the flows and values of ecosystem services across a land- or a seascape. 


Subregions covered