About Nature's Contributions to People Viewer


This viewer supports the Global Modeling of Nature’s Contributions to People, described by Chaplin-Kramer et al (2019) in Science.

Natural habitats purifies water, protects us from floods, delivers pollinators to food crops supporting nutritious diets, and provides countless other benefits to humanity. Incorporating nature’s contribution to people into decision making is essential to face 21st century challenges. The Global Assessment of the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) illuminates how nature contributes to people and where those contributions and the biodiversity underpinning them are in decline. As part of this effort, we mapped key ecosystem services worldwide at a fine resolution, under future scenarios. The complexity of multi-dimensional results leads to many possible narratives; the high-resolution and multi-dimensionality of these global spatial results makes them particularly dense, interesting and complex. We present here a framework for exploring people’s needs for nature, the change in nature’s contribution to meeting those needs, the gap in potential benefits that could be provided to people, the number of people impacted, as well as comparisons across different regions, services, scenarios. The goal of this interactive viewer is to facilitate the exploration of the results under different angles, and illustrate the type of insights (e.g, identifying areas where people are most vulnerable) that could help inform science-based policies.

Nature's Contributions to People (NCP)

We introduce here a new framework for assessing Nature’s Contributions to People (NCP), based on people’s needs for benefits from nature and nature’s contribution to meeting such needs. We illustrate a common approach for understanding three NCP, in fresh water, along coastlines, and on land:

Water Quality

Regulation of Water Quality, specifically retention of nitrogen pollutants

Coastal Risk Reduction

Protection from the impacts of Coastal Storms such as erosion and flooding


Pollination of crops contributing to human nutrition, provided by wild pollinators such as bees

For each NCP, we consider:

  1. A human component, people’s needs for benefits determined by the maximum potential benefits (based on biophysical conditions or pressures) and the population exposed to these potential benefits,
  2. A natural component, consisting of nature’s contribution to potential benefits (as the proportion of the maximum potential benefits that are provided by nature).


We examine changes in these individual components of the NCP, from current (2015) conditions to future (2050) scenarios. We draw three contrasting scenarios from the Shared-Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP), paired with emissions scenarios from Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP), developed by IPCC and IPBES, that set future trajectories in land-use, climate and population change. We considered 3 scenarios:

  • The Sustainability scenario,(SSP1 paired with RCP 2.6) depicts a "Greener" world shifting gradually toward a more sustainable path, emphasizing more inclusive development (reducing inequalities) and respect for the environment.

  • The Regional Rivalry scenario (SSP3 paired with RCP 6.0) assumes resurgent nationalism, where countries’ concern with competitiveness and security lead to international conflicts. Economic development is slow, education and tech investments declines, inequalities worsen. Climate change is intense and there is strong environmental degradation in some regions.

  • The Fossil-Fueled Development (SSP5 paired with RCP 8.5) portrays a world where humanity takes the capitalist highway, with high faith in competitive markets, innovation and participatory societies. This world is increasingly globalized, with large investments in health, education, and socio-economic development in general. However, this occurs with vast exploitation of abundant fossil fuel resources and very consumerist lifestyles, and geo-engineering is viewed as the solution.


Key findings

From this work (Chaplin-Kramer et al (2019)), we find that where people’s needs for nature are now greatest, nature’s ability to meet those needs is declining. Up to five billion people face higher water pollution and insufficient pollination for nutrition under future scenarios of land use and climate change, particularly in Africa and South Asia. Hundreds of millions of people face heightened coastal risk across Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas. Continued loss of nature poses severe threats, yet these can be reduced 3- to 10-fold under a sustainable development scenario.

App Structure

Summaries: today.html offers on overview of the areas where Nature's Contribution to People (NCP) is key today; future.html dives into future scenarios to compare, per country, where people are most at risk.

Service-specific: pollination.html, waterquality.html and coastal.html focus on a single ecosystem service, with fine resolution results in terms of humanity's needs and nature's contributions, as well as methodology.

How to use

On each map, an ⓘ button provides explanations.

Left menus are clickable to make selections on service, scenario, and metric to display. All maps are zoomable and interactive: hover over regions of interest for more information.

Please report bugs and suggestions here


All data displayed is publicly available in the Supplementary Data for Global Modeling of Nature's Contributions to People.



Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer


Richard P. Sharp


Charlotte G. Weil


Anna Fredriksson Häägg

Science contributors: Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Richard P. Sharp, Charlotte G. Weil, Elena M. Bennett, Unai Pascual, Katie K. Arkema, Kate A. Brauman, Benjamin P. Bryant, Anne D. Guerry, Nick M. Haddad, Maike Hamann, Perrine Hamel, Justin A. Johnson, Lisa Mandle, Henrique M. Pereira, Stephen Polasky, Mary Ruckelshaus, M. Rebecca Shaw, Jessica M. Silver, Adrian L. Vogl, Gretchen C. Daily

Visualization: Charlotte G. Weil, Anna Fredriksson Häägg, Richard P. Sharp, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Sarah Cafasso, David Malmström, Sami Ben Hassen, Harshdeep, Ahmed Ahres.