Tool name * InVEST

InVEST, a tool that can model and map the delivery, distribution, and economic value of life-support systems (ecosystem services), well into the future. The tool will help users visualize the impacts of potential decisions, identifying tradeoffs and compatibilities between environmental, economic, and social benefits. InVEST 1.0 includes models for carbon sequestration, pollination of crops, managed timber production, water pollution regulation and sediment retention for reservoir maintenance. It also includes a biodiversity model so that comparisons and tradeoffs between biodiversity and ecosystem services can be analyzed. The next release of InVEST will include a suite of new ecosystem services: flood mitigation, agriculture production, irrigation, open access harvest and hydropower production. The tool is modular in the sense that you do not have to model all the ecosystem services listed, but rather can select only those of interest. InVEST is developed for The Natural Capital Project - a joint venture among The Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund.

Category All, Decision Support, Mapping
What step(s) in analysis framework 2b, 2c, 4
What step(s) in Governance framework


Data Quality Required

Modification Required


Expertise Required

InVEST models run as script tools in the ArcGIS ArcToolBox environment. To run InVEST, you must have ArcGIS 9.2 (at least service pack 2.) ArcGIS 9.3 is not currently fully supported. You will also need an ArcInfo level license to run one of the hydrology modules. Spatial Analyst extension should be installed and activated on your computer. In addition, you must have Python 2.4 or higher, which is typically installed automatically as part of ArcGIS. Running InVEST effectively does not require knowledge of Python programming, but it does require basic to intermediate skills in ArcGIS.

Spatial and Temporal

Not available



License cost issues


Literature: References & Manuals *