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Natural Capital Project to develop conservation software
Date:12/1/2008

The Natural Capital Projecta collaboration of Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fundhas been awarded a two-year, $1.97 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a software program for mapping and evaluating the economic benefits provided by temperate marine ecosystems.

Called Marine InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs), the proposed software will give policymakers and other stakeholders an easy-to-use program for calculating the multitude of services that people derive from ocean ecosystems and incorporating those values into the planning process.

"With Marine InVEST, people will be able to look at a comprehensive ocean management plan and ask what the monetary consequences of different plan configurations will be for a number of different ecosystem services, like fishing, shoreline protection, shipping, tourism and recreation," said Heather Tallis, lead scientist at the Natural Capital Project. "There are always tradeoffs in any planning process, but it's hard to get a sense of how big those tradeoffs are likely to be when you have to guess. Marine InVEST will let you get real numbers and use that information to pick the outcome that has the best balance."

Tallis said that when the software is ready in 2009, it will be tested at a coastal site in California or British Columbia. "There is a lot of interest right now in establishing ocean zoning as a major approach to ocean management that maximizes in a sustainable fashion the totalenvironmental, social and economicvalue from the marine environment," she said. "That's a hard thing to do given the current science. So it's a really great time for us to be able to develop a tool like this."

The Marine InVEST research grant is led by Natural Capital Project Chair Gretchen Daily, the Bing Professor in Environmental Science and a senior fellow at the Woods I
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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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