About OPERAs

About OPERAs

The challenge

Thinking in terms of ecosystem services and natural capital explicitly acknowledges our dependence on nature, and therefore the need to better protect and manage natural resources. For this reason these concepts have been adopted by policy, but the use of the concepts in practice is still in its infancy. The OPERAs project explores how and under what conditions these concepts can move beyond the academic domain towards practical implementation in support of sustainable ecosystem management.

Our work


OPERAs produces, refines and integrates cutting edge ecosystem service science into policy and practice.


 OPERAs provides stakeholders with user-friendly tools and instruments to enable them to apply ecosystem services science and knowledge in their field of work.


 OPERAs works across a range of ecosystems, in ‘exemplar’ case-studies, transforming ecosystem services and natural capital into practice research applies the ecosystem services and natural capital concepts   


 OPERAs engages with stakeholders across science, policy and practice to build a community around its outputs


 OPERAs works with OpenNESS to develop an open platform for collaboration between communities of science, policy and practice. This online hub brings together innovations in nature-based solutions from across Europe


What are ecosystem services and natural capital?

Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from nature. These are split into three broad types of service

Provisioning : The products obtained from ecosystems, including food, fibre, fuel, and freshwater

Cultural:   The non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment.

Regulating:  The benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes such as  climate regulation, water purification and erosion prevention

Ecosystem services are provided by a stock of natural assets, including geology, soil, air, water and all living things. Collectively these assets form our Natural capital, as an economic metaphor for the limited stocks of physical and biological resources found on earth.