National capital laboratory looking down a lush valley with heather and trees

Case study

Natural Capital Laboratory develops innovative methods to tackle the biodiversity and climate emergencies.

Project: Natural Capital Laboratory
Client: The Lifescape Project

AECOM is partnering with conservation charity The Lifescape Project, landowners Rodger and Emilia Leese and the University of Cumbria over five years to create the Natural Capital Laboratory (NCL) project. The NCL is a live, collaborative research project to design, test, and commercialize new techniques for measuring and valuing environmental and social impacts of land management activities. Through PlanEngage, the projects data is transformed into a visual, accessible and engaging experience for all users via a digital dashboard, drawing together complex elements such as the habitat type, species numbers and soil depth, to record how they change over time.

In order to better understand the impacts of the rewilding process - which involves restoring 100 acres of land in the Scottish Highlands to native forest - the project uses state of the art technologies to collect and manage data including the use of drones, artificial intelligence, satellite data, thermal imaging, 3D visualisations, and virtual reality.

A first of its kind, this Digital Natural Capital Account has been developed to provide an engaging way of monitoring and communicating the habitats, species, ecosystem services, and environmental and social values associated with the NCL.
Amazing imagery, 3D mapping and media content collected by the innovative digital techniques on the project can be accessed across several interactive pages.
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