Hello, I would like to use InVEST for System of Environmental-Economic Accounting–Ecosystem Accounting. As far as I understand, InVEST was not designed explicitly for SEEA EA and some of the outputs may require further modelling or modification for incorporating in ecosystem service accounts.

Does anyone have any experience with what would be required to make the InVEST outputs compliant? Or could anyone point me to research or resources for this?

Many thanks!


Hi @elsacarla ,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question.

InVEST can be a useful tool to inform an undertaking of the UN’s System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting (UN SEEA EA). However we’re currently unaware of real world examples where application of the framework has been completed (although many are underway), aside from the study we conducted and are in the process of describing in a manuscript currently being written. In that case, we did apply the UN SEEA EA framework to a watershed in Colombia and we relied on InVEST for our biophysical results. We can share that study once it’s published, if not sooner.

The big takeaways are that such an undertaking is complex and should not been done hastily. We encourage you to start with an ecosystem assessment before attempting to perform accounting. In the assessment, it is crucial to obtain observed data from your study area against which you can calibrate the results predicted by the InVEST models. For example, it took us >1,000 runs of two models to find and choose parameters that most closely matched reality. From there, you can use the values of the ecosystem services (to their beneficiaries) to build accounts.

Quantitative valuation, and especially the assignment of monetary values, should only be done on model outputs that have been calibrated and validated. Otherwise, it is unknown how well the model is representing the area of interest, which may lead to misrepresentation of the exact value. If the model has not been calibrated, only relative results should be used (such as an increase of 10%) not absolute values (such as 1,523 tons, or 42,900 dollars.) For instance, for the SDR model, see the User Guide section Comparison with Observations for more information on sensitivity testing and calibration. Other models have similar sections in their chapters of the User Guide.



Hi @jesseG,

many thanks for your valuable input. I will take this into account and start with ecosystem assessment.

All the best!

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