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EditPhoto Title:Mapping natural capital
EditPhoto Description:Where are the ecosystems that people rely on?
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EditImage Description:Jonathan Dabo, Gabriel Appiah and Benson Owusu discuss fieldwork plans at CSIR headquarters.
EditPhoto Credit:© Benjamin Drummond
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​​In order to protect and manage our natural capital, we need to know where it is located.

The forests that regulate our climate. The rivers that provide sources of clean water. The stocks of fish that feed us. The soil in which we grow crops. These are examples of “natural capital” — the sources of goods and services that ecosystems provide that humans rely on.

Conservation International is working with governments and others to map the most important, or “essential,” natural capital in select places around the world so that countries, development banks, conservation organizations and other actors can meet conservation targets and ensure sustainable development for their people.

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EditItem Title:WHAT
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EditItem Text:To determine natural capital (sources of things like water, fish, forest products, protection from storms) we must first find out where it is and how much exists in a region. Also part of the calculus: natural processes ranging from the amount of carbon stored in forests to crop pollination by insects.
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EditItem Title:WHY
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EditItem Text:If natural capital isn’t considered, any calculations of a country’s true wealth are inaccurate. A nation with a low GDP, for example, may be rich in biodiversity, but decisions by governments or businesses that deplete these resources could hurt the country economically — and the world, ecologically — in the long run.
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EditItem Title:HOW
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EditItem Text:Teams from Conservation International work with existing data on subjects including sources and amounts of fresh water, plant and animal biodiversity, non-timber forest products, and carbon storage to map their location, characteristics, and how they all work together.
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EditHeader:What we’re doing
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      EditImage Description:Beautiful view of Wayag Lagoon from the peak of one of the many islands in Bird's Head.
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      Determining what needs protecting
      We know from mapping biodiversity “hotspots” that the greatest return on investment is found by focusing on the right places. We provide the same insights about our stocks of natural capital to determine the natural places societies must protect to sustain our lives and economies.

      Partnering with business and governments
      By creating and applying a unique and truly groundbreaking accounting framework for ecosystems that maps their area, characteristics and flows, Conservation International aims to enable governments and businesses to base economic decisions on a complete picture that includes nature’s goods and services — and the value they provide.

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      EditPhoto Credit: © Conservation International/photo by John Martin
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      EditSection HeadingWhat does natural capital look like?
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      Edit Title:Biodiversity
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      The variety of species and ecosystems is fundamental to the planet’s health — and to humanity’s survival.

      What parts are “essential”?
      Areas of essential natural capital for biodiversity include habitats that harbor threatened species, unique ecosystems and exceptionally high species richness (the number of species present in a particular area).

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      Edit Photo URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_75744424.jpg
      Edit Photo Alt Text: A tree frog (Hypsiboas geographicus) clings to a branch in the lowland forest near Kasikasima.
      EditPhoto Credit:© Trond Larsen
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      Edit Title:Forest carbon/climate mitigation
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      Tropical forests are critically important for regulating global climate, capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere.

      What parts are “essential”?
      Areas of essential natural capital for forest carbon/climate mitigation are identified based on their current stores of carbon stock and for the potential amount of emissions that can be avoided if the area is protected.

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      Edit Photo URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_91290341.jpg
      Edit Photo Alt Text: Patrol teams conduct checks on snares and report them using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).
      EditPhoto Credit:© Jeremy Holden
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      Edit Title:Fresh water
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      Water is the most essential natural resource, a core component of both human well-being and a thriving economy.

      What parts are “essential”?
      Essential natural capital for fresh water includes ecosystems that provide water for human use or hydropower production (water quantity), avoided erosion and sedimentation (water quality), or provide a stable flow of water (flow regulation).

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      EditPhoto Credit:© Jessica Scranton
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      Edit Title:Non-timber forest products
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      Ultimately, all our food comes from nature. Forests, though, provide even more products that millions rely on: Medicines, fuelwood, fibers.

      What parts are “essential”?
      Areas considered essential for non-timber forest products fit two criteria: the presence of species used for such products, and accessibility of these areas to human populations.

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      Edit Photo URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_81349795.jpg
      Edit Photo Alt Text: An inspector labels each log harvested from the forest.
      EditPhoto Credit:© Benjamin Drummond
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      Edit Title:Fisheries
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      Worldwide, millions of people depend on marine and freshwater fisheries for protein and livelihoods.

      What parts are “essential”?
      Essential natural capital for fisheries includes the fisheries themselves as well as the coral reefs, mangroves, lakes, rivers and wetlands that provide food and nursery habitat for the fish that people rely on.

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      Edit Photo URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_14467991.jpg
      Edit Photo Alt Text: Coral reef: hard corals, soft corals and tropical fish
      EditPhoto Credit:© Comstock Images
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      Edit Title:Reducing human vulnerability to climate change
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      Ecosystems can reduce our vulnerability to the effects of climate change in numerous ways — for example, mangroves can protect coastal communities from storms, forests and wetlands can reduce severe flooding by regulating water flows, and many ecosystems provide food and support incomes during a crisis.

      What parts are “essential”?
      For our purposes, areas are considered essential for reducing climate vulnerability when they provide benefits such as coastal protection or flood regulation which are predicted to be important under climate change scenarios.

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      Edit Photo URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_25625956.jpg
      Edit Photo Alt Text: Some plants grow on a mangrove near the coast of Ecuador.
      EditPhoto Credit:© Lucas Bustamante
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      From the Blog

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      EditImage Alt Text:Waterfall in Madagascar
      EditCaption Title:Measuring What Matters: Acknowledging Nature’s Role in the Global Economy
      EditCaption Description:“Accounting” may not be a word that gets many pulses racing. But what if I told you that a new kind of accounting — called natural capital accounting — could revolutionize the way the world’s nations assess and value their economies?
      EditRead More Text:Read More
      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2014/05/measuring-what-matters-acknowledging-natures-role-in-the-global-economy/[Optional]
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      EditImage Alt Text:Coffee berries on a branch in Chiapas, Mexico
      EditCaption Title:Companies Place Greater Value on Natural Capital
      EditCaption Description:Here’s a pop quiz: Do you know what “natural capital” is?
      EditRead More Text:Read More
      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2014/04/companies-place-greater-value-on-natural-capital/[Optional]
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      EditImage Alt Text:Akal village, in the middle of Tonle Sap. Site of the CI-sponsored Fish Sanctuary and Biodiversity Protection Project (FSBPP)
      EditCaption Title:A scientific treasure hunt to find — and save — nature’s ‘capital’
      EditCaption Description:At Conservation International (CI), we like to say, “People need nature to thrive.” But behind that statement are countless questions revealing a more complicated reality: Where is the nature that people need? Which places are most important to protect? And how much can we chip away at various ecosystems before their value is compromised?
      EditRead More Text:Read More
      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2016/03/a-scientific-treasure-hunt-to-find-and-save-natures-capital/[Optional]
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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_43153754.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:Forest and Black Pines in Crna Poda Natural Reserve in Tara Canyon, Montenegro
      EditCaption Title: Share on Facebook 8 Share on Twitter Tweet Share on Linkedin 1 New Business Model Offers Fresh Approach for Valuing Nature
      EditCaption Description:Over the past few years, CI has had the good fortune to work with — and ultimately bring onto our board — natural capital thought leader Pavan Sukhdev. Our relationship with Pavan initially centered around his efforts as lead author on “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)” study, but has quickly developed into much more.
      EditRead More Text:Read More
      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2012/10/new-business-model-offers-fresh-approach-for-valuing-nature/[Optional]
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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_33176972.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:Young malagasy worker with rice paddies in the background
      EditCaption Title:Mapping Essential Ecosystems in the Land of Rice
      EditCaption Description:Madagascar is a land of rice. To understand the relationship between people and nature here, that’s the first thing you need to know.
      EditRead More Text:Read More
      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2013/10/mapping-essential-ecosystems-in-the-land-of-rice/[Optional]
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      EditSection Title:Mapping
      EditSection subtitle:We are mapping natural capital around the world in order to meet conservation targets and ensure sustainable development.
      EditButton link:/projects/Pages/Mapping-Natural-Capital.aspx
      EditButton text:Learn more
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      EditSection Title:Valuing
      EditSection subtitle:What do we do once we know what parts of nature to protect? Use natural capital accounting — a standard format of measurement and valuation.
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      EditButton text:Learn more
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      EditItem Text:Mapping Natural Capital in the Amazon
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      EditNewsletter Title:Keep in touch
      EditNewsletter Message:Get the latest updates on our field projects — and the rest of CI’s conservation — work delivered to your inbox.
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      EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Text:We can't protect the planet without your support
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