Gretchen Daily is a professor of biology at Stanford University and a pioneer in a field known as “natural capital.” The term refers to the soil, air, water and other assets that nature has to offer. As a conservation model, it is rooted in the idea that nature has a measurable value to humans and that protection efforts must go far beyond walled-off reserves and be broadly integrated into development practice and planning.
She has spent more than 30 years developing the scientific underpinnings of natural capital and is the co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, which has grown to include a group of 250 partners around the world. The organization has integrated science into its cornerstone computer program to help governments and other stakeholders prioritize conservation.
“Nature is often just seen as kind of in the way of prosperity,” says Gretchen Daily. “What we’re saying is that nature is crucial to prosperity.”