The Natural Capital Asset Index (NCAI) analyses nature's potential contribution to the wellbeing of Scotland's citizens.
The NCAI is a composite index which tracks changes in the capacity of Scotland's terrestrial ecosystems to provide benefits to people. The Index does not include the marine environment. It is not a monetary value but is composed in a way which reflects the relative contribution of habitats to human wellbeing.
Scotland's natural capital deteriorated historically until the 1990s. Most habitats were declining during this period, especially bogs and grassland. Evidence from the NCAI suggests that Scotland's potential to deliver ecosystem services has grown slightly over the past 15 years and now is at its highest level since 2000, recovering from a low in 2012. Further details can be found in the two page summary.
The Natural Capital Asset Index is included as a measure for the National Indicator 'Increase our natural capital' in the National Performance Framework.
The capacity of ecosystems to provide benefits fluctuates over time due to changes in habitat quantity and quality. Habitat quantity is tracked in the NCAI using what we know about land cover change in Scotland. Habitat quality is tracked using 38 separate indicators which rely on datasets gathered by a range of public organisations and citizen science schemes.
You can find further background information on natural capital and the NCAI, including results for Scotland's habitats and for ecosystem service types, in our Information Note. A Technical Note provides further detail on how the NCAI is compiled and accompanies the detailed model.