Even though natural assets can provide similar services as infrastructure made by municipalities, natural assets are not often considered equal to their human-made counterparts. A wastewater treatment centre is acknowledged as an important asset to a municipality, but wetlands may not be provided the same acknowledgement and management.

The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) is striving to change how natural assets are managed. By providing tools and support for municipalities to measure and manage natural assets the same as they do with engineered assets, MNAI is partnering with Canadian municipalities to acknowledge, preserve and manage natural infrastructure that provides valuable services.

 

What are natural assets?

MNAI defines natural assets as: the stocks of natural resources or ecosystems that contribute to the provision of one or more services required for the health, well-being and long-term sustainability of a community and its residents. Natural assets are valuable for municipalities because they provide:

  • Services the same or equivalent to human-made infrastructure
  • Support to mitigate and adapt to climate change
  • Access to external funding sources to maintain, preserve or rehabilitate natural assets
  • Services associated with natural areas, such as recreation

Natural assets, according to MNAI, are a type of green infrastructure along with engineered assets (such as green walls or permeable pavement) and enhanced natural assets (such as urban parks and stormwater ponds).

 

What is MNAI?

To support municipalities in measuring and managing natural assets, MNAI provides resources, tools and consultations for Canadian municipalities. MNAI is a not-for-profit enterprise that arose from a natural assets initiative in the Town of Gibsons, British Columbia. Now MNAI works with municipalities across Canada to replicate and expand on the project in Gibsons.

Read more about MNAI.

 

Learn more about natural assets

MNAI provides resources to learn more about measuring and managing natural assets.

What are natural assets?

 

Case studies

 

More resources and documents are available from MNAI.

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