Atlas Natural Capital


Geographical coverage

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

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

The Atlas of Natural Capital (ANK) is an up-to-date platform for knowledge and information dissemination enhancing the sustainable use of natural capital. Currently the ANK shares more than 150 maps on ecosystem services in the Netherlands. Our aim is to provide all the information needed for sustainable decision-making by 2020. Companies, governments and citizens can use data from ANK:

Mandate for the assessment

The Atlas Natural Capital is developed by order of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment in the Netherlands. The development of the Atlas is one of operational objectives as stated in the letter to the Parliament see:

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Other (please specify)

An analytical framework for ecosystem assessment and mapping (i.e. conceptual model, policy questions, typology for assessing and mapping ecosystems and their services) is being developed within a mandated working group (MAES working group), set under the Common Implementation Framework of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. The conceptual model is based on the ecosystem services cascade model, the TEEB framework, and the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. It contains elements of the DPSIR framework and is adapted to better fit to the needs of an EU wide ecosystem assessment under the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. It is expected to contribute to and benefit from the development of IPBES methodological framework parallel. There will be many subsequent iterations, improvements and refinements. The deadline for establishing the framework for monitoring and assessment of ecosystems and having an initial overview of the extent and status of the different ecosystems across Europe is 2014.

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

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

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Food
  • Water
  • Timber/fibres
  • Genetic resources
  • Ornamental resources
  • Energy/fuel


  • Air quality
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulation of water flows
  • Regulation of water quality
  • Waste treatment
  • Erosion prevention
  • Pollination
  • Pest and disease control

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Habitat maintenance
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Soil formation and fertility
  • Primary production

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism
  • Spiritual
  • inspiration and cognitive development

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


If repeated, how frequently

Maps are frequently being added and updated.

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

  • Modelling
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Indicators
  • Economic valuation
  • Social (non-monetary) valuation
  • Biophysical baseline mapping and assessment of defined ecosystem services
  • Biophysical baseline mapping and assessment of the status of major ecosystems

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

Stakeholders are welcome to use ANK's geographical database for making more sustainable choices on planning and developing the living environment / landscape. Maps are available online for citizens, governments and companies. ANK is still under development and maps are frequently being added or updated. Currently several projects are underway in which stakeholders are more engaged in using ANK data for sustainable decision-making. If you have specific questions about further procedures or if you have suggestions for projects on ecosystem services in the Netherlands; we would like to hear from you! Contact us at: atlasnatuurlijkkapitaal[at]

Key stakeholder groups engaged

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, provincial authorities, municipalities, district water boards, agricultural organizations, environmental NGO's, companies, research institutes and civilians.

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process


Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)
  • Traditional/local knowledge
  • Citizen science

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


  • Scientific information: Most maps originate from data provided by research institutes such as the map on soil fertility by Alterra.
  • Resource experts: Some maps are based on data provided by resource experts, such as the map on drinking water extraction points, provided by Deltares.
  • Local knowledge: The recent programme 'Tree in your neighbourhood' combined local knowledge with ANK data.
  • Citizen science: In the recent App-challenge, several apps were developed in which citizens can interact with ANK's geographical data.

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Open access.

Policy impact

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

More information will follow.

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

Network and sharing experiences, Workshops, Developing/promoting and providing access to support tools, Communication and awareness raising

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