Software tools:

InVEST is a free and open-source software suite developed by the Natural Capital Project. InVEST 2.6.0 was released on December 12, 2013.



RIOS is a software tool that helps design cost-effective investments in watershed services. RIOS 1.0.0b8 was released on November 6, 2013.  


For help using InVEST and RIOS, visit NatCap Forums, our growing online user community.
InVEST Trainings
Annual Meeting & InVEST Training
March 26-28
Stanford, CA

Work with NatCap!
NatCap is hiring software engineers! 

NatCap is hiring software engineers! We are hiring a senior and entry-level software engineer, and a software technical lead to develop new and improved software for our toolbox. 


Successful candidates will be friendly, intelligent, self-directed individuals who are passionate about working on collaborative software projects for social good. 


Newsletter Archive
Check out NatCap's previous newsletters in our Newsletter Archive.

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Building a community of practice: learning more about NatCap's approach and tools
NatCap aims to incorporate the best available scientific knowledge and methodologies into our work and software. We are dedicated to providing clear, accessible information and trainings in our approach and tools so users can successfully incorporate ecosystem service information into their work. Each year we host trainings and workshops around the world, including our biggest event, our upcoming Annual Meeting. We also have a number of online resources that can help you learn to apply our approach to incorporating natural capital information in decision-making, use our software, and contact us for guidance or support.  Last year we trained about 1,000 people, and we expect that number to grow as our on-line offerings increase.  We also hope to keep building a community of practice so users can learn from one another.  We are committed to be responsive to user-support requests for the same reason InVEST is free and open-source: we want to reduce technical barriers to using ecosystem service information in decisions.   

Stanford University

NatCap Annual Meeting 2014




This year's meeting is the perfect opportunity to learn more from a growing community of users about our approach to incorporate natural capital information into decision-making. Participants will learn about novel applications of our software (including the latest InVEST models and our newest software, RIOS), and receive personalized help from our scientists, programmers and policy experts. The agenda also includes great opportunities to network with other innovators who are putting ecosystem services into practice. In addition to plenary sessions featuring stories from our collaborators from around the world, we encourage attendees to prepare posters describing their latest work for the opening poster session on March 26th.  Last year the poster session really kicked off our meeting with a bang as partners from across the globe shared their work with one another.

This year's training will:
  • Introduce participants to the concepts of natural capital and valuing nature;
  • Illustrate how natural capital information is informing key policy, management, and business decisions;
  • Demonstrate techniques for mapping and modeling ecosystem services and provide beginner, intermediate, and expert-level training; and
  • Support interested individuals to design an ecosystem service project based on their goals, decision context, capacity, and available data.

January is the last chance to register for NatCap's Annual Meeting and Training at a reduced rate. Starting February 1st, the price to attend the training will increase from $400 to $550. A few scholarships are still available if the registration fee is prohibitive for your budget. Just make sure to apply by January 15th to ensure your application will be considered. It's going to be a great event--we hope to see you there! 


Belize training
Help Using Our Approach and Software 

NatCap is dedicated to help you use our approach and tools by providing a number of resources online.  Our website always hosts the latest version of InVEST and RIOS, a complete user guide, previous case studies, publications, and highlights from past training events including presentations and videosWe recently updated our InVEST in Practice series, which provides step-by-step guidance for how to use our tools in different decision contexts including climate adaptation, marine spatial planning and strategic environmental assessment. NatCap also provides user support through an actively maintained online user forumThis is the best way to obtain one-on-one support for any software issue or general project questions you may have.  


Our Annual Meeting and Training, held each spring at Stanford, is an excellent opportunity to hone your skills, learn from our growing international community about applications, new tools, and initiatives, and receive support from our entire team. In-person trainings are also available several times a year at various locations around the world, which are announced in our newsletter and on our website. Finally, we are excited to be launching an online course in late February through Stanford's EdX Studio platform.  Please visit our website next month to register as a participant in this free introductory course. If none of our planned trainings meet your needs, on occasion arrangements for a more in-depth collaboration with NatCap can be made for you to host a training suited to your needs, where we can provide assistance and consultation for running models and analyzing, visualizing and interpreting results.


Recent  Press and Publications


The future of marine conservation

Ruckelshaus, M., P. Kareiva and L. Crowder.  2013. Pp. 517-543
In: M. Bertness and B. Silliman, Eds.  Marine Community Ecology and Conservation.  Sinauer Associates, NY.  


How we can use nature to fend off flooding in Puget Sound
Seattle Times Op-ed December 12th, 2013

by Michael S. Stevens and Mary Ruckelshaus 


Efforts to curb unbridled growth that's killing the planet
San Francisco Chronicle January 4th, 2014

by Carolyn Lochhead


Ecosystem services reinforce Sumatran tiger conservation in land use plans

Nirmal K. Bhagabati, Taylor Ricketts, Thomas Barano Siswa Sulistyawan, Marc Conte, Driss Ennaanay, Oki Hadian, Emily McKenzie, Nasser Olwero, Amy Rosenthal, Heather Tallis, Stacie Wolny

Biological Conservation: Volume 169, January 2014, Pages 147-156


What factors influence participation in payment for ecosystem services programs? An evaluation of Ecuador's SocioParamo program

Leah Bremer, Kathleen Farley, David Lopez-Carr

Land Use Policy, January 2014, Pages 122-133



A full list of news stories and publications are available on our website. Access to full articles may require library access. 


Thank you for your continued interested in the Natural Capital Project. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at