“Nature is often just seen as kind of in the way of prosperity. What we’re saying is that nature is crucial to prosperity,” stated Gretchen Daily, a professor of biology at Stanford University
Note to Reader:
Gretchen Daily is a professor of biology at Stanford University and a pioneer in a field known as “natural capital.” The term refers to the soil, air, water and other assets that nature has to offer. As a conservation model, it is rooted in the idea that nature has a measurable value to humans and that protection efforts must go far beyond walled-off reserves and be broadly integrated into development practice and planning.
Gretchen Daily – pioneer in the field known as “natural capital”
“Gretchen Daily has spent more than 30 years developing the scientific underpinnings of natural capital and is the co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, which has grown to include a group of 250 partners around the world. The organization has integrated science into its cornerstone computer program to help governments and other stakeholders prioritize conservation,” wrote Tik Root in an article published by the Washington Post in its Climate Visionaries series. The series highlights brilliant people around the world who are working to find climate solutions.
“As a conservation model, natural capital is rooted in the idea that nature has a measurable value to humans and that protection efforts must go far beyond walled-off reserves and be broadly integrated into development practice and planning.”
“But to help turn science into tangible outcomes, Daily and the Natural Capital Project combined their research with mapping data to create a software called InVEST, which stands for Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs. It can help guide policymakers by pinpointing where, and for whom, conservation efforts can have the greatest payoff.”
To Learn More:
To read the complete article, download a copy of The professor who assigns value to nature — then persuades world leaders to save it.
Financial Case for a Stream System
“EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, provides communities with a philosophy, pragmatic methodology and metrics to make the financial case for annual investment to prevent degradation and improve the condition of ecological assets that constitute a stream corridor system,” stated British Columbia’s Tim Pringle, a founding Director and first President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability.
In the early 1990s, when he was the Executive Director of the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC), Tim Pringle proposed that “use and conservation of land are equal values”. The REFBC Board of Governors embraced Tim’s idea as its guiding philosophy for the REFBC grants program. This idea is the genesis for EAP.
“EAP bridges a gap. While local governments have existing tools in the form of policies and legislation for ‘maintenance and management’ of ecological assets, they have until now lacked a pragmatic methodology and meaningful metrics to incorporate stream systems as line items in Asset Management Plans.”
“The provincial umbrella for EAP is Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. In 2019, UBCM and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs established an expectation that grant applicants would integrate natural assets into their asset management processes. EAP shows them how to do it for stream systems by providing a methodology and metrics.”
“Use of EAP to establish the ‘financial case for the stream’ would put maintenance and management (M&M) of stream corridor systems on an equal footing with constructed assets (municipal infrastructure). This is a game-changer.”
To Learn More:
Download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Accounting for Stream Systems in Asset Management.