Co$ting Nature is a software tool that aids in developing strategies to sustain and improve ecosystem management. It is being used by WLE in its Volta region work in Africa for ecosystem service trade-off analysis.
The web-based tool analyzes the benefits provided by the natural environment, the beneficiaries of those ecosystem services, and assesses the impacts of possible human interventions on the continued provision of these benefits.
The intended and unintended consequences of a development action can be computer simulated in order to better understand the likely outcomes and effectiveness of such policies before implementation in the field.
The tool incorporates detailed spatial datasets at 1-square km and 1-hectare resolution for the entire world, spatial models for biophysical and socioeconomic processes, and scenarios for climate change, land use change and user valuation of ecosystem services and conservation priorities. The tool is focused on understanding the opportunity cost of the ecosystems being protected.
Typical applications include assessing ecosystem services, conservation priorities, and impacts of planned development projects (agricultural, industrial, mining, tourism), taking into account human pressures and threats on natural resources as well as biodiversity.
The tool is aimed at development practitioners, policy analysts, industry, educators, and academics. The tool is easy to use by those who have a basic understanding of GIS. The tool provides rapid results using globally available datasets and, taking more time, also can be used with more detailed locally derived data where available.