Natural Capital Atlas
We use many different natural resources in our society, such as oil, gas, wood, wind, drinking water and food. But do we use them in a sustainable and efficient manner? The Natural Capital Atlas, which was launched in September 2015, maps all of these resources and helps to improve their sustainable use.
Why a Natural Capital Atlas?
The Atlas is part of the Dutch implementation programme From Waste to Resource and forms the Dutch elaboration of the European biodiversity strategy. The Natural Capital Atlas provides an overview of the natural capital our society uses, maps of natural resources such as oil and gas as well as the ecosystems and the services they provide. Services the natural capital can provide us with include the binding of carbon dioxide, particulate matter capture by trees, the filtering of rainwater, natural pest management, the production of food, recreation and solar and wind energy. The idea is for the atlas to support companies, (local) governments and social organisations in the improved utilisation of the natural capital and in weighing the pros and cons of the various interests in which the natural capital plays a role. The atlas, for instance, provides information about the areas in which insect pollination is good and where it is not so good. Pollination is of crucial importance for 84% of European agricultural crops to yield a proper harvest. The atlas also provides suggestions to make areas with limited pollination more attractive for insects, such as constructing wooded banks and laying out flowery field margins or placing bee hotels.
Collaboration of many parties
The development and management of the atlas are allocated to RIVM. Many research institutes support the development of the Natural Capital Atlas with specific knowledge: Deltares, Alterra, VITO, LEI, BIJ12 and CBS.The atlas is still under development; land coverage and detailing of the maps are still under construction. Over the next years, the atlas will be further completed and technically developed. It will be finished in 2020.The initiator of the atlas is the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.