The Economic Value of Natural Capital

Nature is not only essential for the welfare of humans and animals, it also represents great economic value. We are therefore working on a new measure of the value of so-called natural capital.

Project: Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services in Tygron

Customer: RIVM

The natural capital consists of services and supplies provided by nature. Think of food production or cooling in the city. Natural capital contributes to people’s well-being and prosperity. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has calculation models that make the improvement of health measurable in terms of years of life and money. These are available in the Atlas Natural Capital.

Particulate matter and heat stress

RIVM and Tygron have worked together to provide dynamic insight into these calculation models in the Tygron Platform. For example, the capture of PM10 (particulate matters) and the direct effect on health were implemented, as well as heat stress and building values. Together with RIVM, Tygron developed a 3D demo in which the impact of designs on ecosystem services becomes clear, and what results are for the environment.

Greenery or pavement

The demo uses data from the Atlas Natural Capital. It shows the possibilities to let green contribute to a more pleasant living environment and health. What works well and how can you asses that? What are the consequences if you place shrubs instead of pavement? What does a widening of a road do with the amount of particulate matters and noise pollution? The 3D demo makes this clear in an interactive way based on a case study around the Merwedekanaal in Utrecht.

Ton de Nijs of RIVM on the project: “We wanted to test how natural capital and ecosystem services could be elaborated in Tygron. The final demo showed very nicely how this can indeed be included in these kinds of tools”.

Atlas Natural Capital

Currently, the value of natural capital on prosperity is not yet taken into account in government and business decisions, in spatial planning or in the design of production chains. That is why a new measure of the value of natural capital is being developed. The Atlas Natural Capital helps with this. The Atlas contains a lot of information about the contributions of our natural system, ecosystems and the services they provide to us, such as food production or cooling in the city.