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Building with Nature Guideline > Toolbox > Environmental Economics > Including natural value in decision-making - Nature Index

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Including natural value in decision-making (Nature Index)

Type: Method

Project Phase: Initiation, Planning and Design

Purpose: Providing a quantitative nature index to include natural qualities in decision-making process

Requirements: Ecological knowledge

Relevant Software: Excel or similar programme


The Nature Index tool provides a method to quantify the change in nature value  within a project area that results from proposed interventions. The tool translates a nature value into nature points, to allow for a quantified comparison between alternatives. It requires four steps to determine the effect of a certain intervention on the number of nature points. The tool can be used when the feasibility of an intervention or project has to be demonstrated or when an (i.e. cost effective) alternative has to be chosen.

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How to Use

The Nature Index tool quantifies the change in nature value due to the design alternatives considered. In four steps, the tool translates the nature value into a quantitative score: nature points, where more points indicate a higher value:

  1. Defining the project
  2. Assessing the change in ecotope quality
  3. Weighting of different ecotopes
  4. Assessing the Nature Index

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Practical Applications

The nature conservation plans in the Dutch Eastern Scheldt estuary serve as an example to illustrate the application of the Nature Index tool. The illustration follows the consecutive steps of the Nature Index tool.

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