Human Dependency on Nature

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Global
Country or countries covered
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

This assessment, led by IUCN, is currently under development

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

Wild natural resources contribute more to livelihoods in rural and coastal communities than historically recognized. The primary goal of the IUCN Human Dependency on Nature framework is to provide policy makers and programme managers from the development, environment and other sectors with an independent, robust and differentiated assessment of the degree to which natural ecosystems and wild resources contribute to the material needs of rural and coastal communities as a proportion of total household income. In doing so it seeks to improve the sustainable management of natural resources to better meet local needs, sharpen the targeting of national development and conservation policies and avoid unintended impacts of policies and programmes on rural and coastal livelihoods.

Mandate for the assessment

This is one of the six priority IUCN Knowledge Products as identified in the 2013-2016 IUCN Programme which was adopted by IUCN members in the 2012 World Conservation Congress, and is available here:

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Other (please specify)

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

The IUCN Index of Human Dependency on Nature will be developed through a coalition of partners that bring together household economic survey expertise, economic analytical skills and knowledge of the use and contribution of natural ecosystems and wild resources. Existing datasets will be interrogated and supplemented with additional surveys that explicitly document the contribution to rural and coastal livelihoods from natural resources. IUCN has already worked with several partners and members to develop survey methodologies to capture such information that tends to be overlooked in standard household surveys. These approaches will be refined in such a way as to complement mainstream household economic datasets and distributed to IUCN members and partners. IUCN will also supplement this information with relevant data from the Red List of Threatened Species which details how individual species are used.

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Island
  • Inland water
  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Grassland
  • Mountain
  • Dryland
  • Polar
  • Urban

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed



Supporting Services/Functions

Cultural Services

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started

Year assessment finished

If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment

Assessment outputs



Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Indicators
  • Economic valuation
  • Social (non-monetary) valuation

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Key stakeholder groups engaged

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)
  • Traditional/local knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information