The Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs (InVEST) tool is a suite of free open source software models for the mapping and valuing of ecosystem services throughout terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. It enables decision makers to assess quantified trade-offs associated with alternative management choices and to identify areas where investment in natural capital can enhance human development and conservation.
InVEST is the main tool developed by the natural capital project in partnership with several academic collaborators including Stanford Department of Biology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences & The Nature Conservancy. The multi-service, modular design of InVEST provides an effective tool for balancing the environmental and economic goals of many stakeholders when ecosystem services are to be considered. The toolset includes eighteen distinct ecosystem service models designed for terrestrial, freshwater, marine, and coastal ecosystems;
The software was originally developed as an ArcGIS add on in the ArcToolBox environment but all models are currently available as standalone software that is freely accessible through the developer’s website.
Running InVEST effectively does require knowledge of python programming however software such as QGIS or ArcGIS will be required to view results. The sub-models use input data (map/GIS data and information in tables) to explore how changes in ecosystems are likely to effect the flow of benefits provided to human features. Analysis can occur throughout a range of spatial resolutions ranging from local to regional and even global.
|Latest Version||InVEST 3.5.0 released 14/8/17|
|State of Development||Released and updated|
|Outcome Areas||Economic, Environmental, Social|
|Management Domains||Freshwater, Coastal, Biodiversity, Land, Community|
|Intended End Users||
|Spatial Resolutions||10-100m, 100-500m|
|Spatial Extents||Local (i.e. Catchment or District), Regional, National|
|Steady State or Dynamic||Steady State|
|Key Input Data||Data requirements - http://data.naturalcapitalproject.org/nightly-build/invest-users-guide/html/data_requirements.html|
|Key Output Data||Data Outputs - http://data.naturalcapitalproject.org/nightly-build/invest-users-guide/html/data_requirements.html|
|Open/Closed Source||Open Source|
|Licence Type||No Licence|
|Operating Systems||MS Windows, Mac OS X|
|Software Needed||ARC GIS, QGIS|
|User Interface||Graphical desktop|
|Ease of Use||Moderate Requires basic to intermediate skills in GIS software|
|Use in Policy Process||Plan (Policy Formulation), Review (Issue Identification)|
Online Users Guide: Sharp, R., et. al. (2018): InVEST +VERSION+ User’s Guide. The Natural Capital Project, Stanford University, University of Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund.
PDF Version of InVEST Users Guide
|Support||Website provides links to User Forum, FAQ's, training program and databases|
Main web page: https://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/
Downloads and User Guides: https://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/invest/
Natural Capital Project - YouTube channel - Introduction videos to InVEST Models