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Visual_HEA: Habitat Equivalency Analysis Software to Calculate Compensatory Restoration following Natural Resource Injury

Principal Investigators:

  • Kevin E. Kohler, M.S.
  • Richard E. Dodge, Ph.D.

Screenshot of data entry form for Visual_HEA programHabitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) is a means to determine the amount of compensatory restoration required to provide services that are equivalent to the interim loss of natural resource services following an injury. HEA includes a discounting procedure to account for asset valuation in that the total asset value is equal to the present discounted value of the future stream of all services from the natural resource or the compensatory resource. Discounting is used to include the loss and gain of ecological services of the resources over time.

Project and Findings

Screenshot of the result of the Visual_HEA software analysis softwareVisual_HEA is a computer program developed to calculate the amount of compensatory resource services that would be required to match those lost following an injury to natural resources. The program accepts input of parameters necessary to determine long-term service loss from the injury and long-term service gain from the desired compensatory restoration action. HEA results are highly dependent upon assumptions, and consequently it is useful to examine sensitivity of results to a range of parameter values. Visual_HEA offers an intuitive graphical interface that allows the user to input or modify input parameters and hence quickly create or alter the lost and gain service level shape functions. The ability to calculate results of many scenarios allows ready comparisons that may assist in determination of the most appropriate compensatory action.

Visual_HEA is being made available free of charge to interested researchers affiliated with scientific institutions. More information can be found at

Implications for Management

When there is a loss of natural resource services, many agencies are faced with the task of determining, in a quantitative sense, the extent of the damage, and the required compensatory actions required. This requires a knowledge of the ability of the injury area and mitigation area to provide services throughout the recovery period. Visual_HEA is a computer program that facilitates input of HEA assumptions and parameters and calculates the compensatory action required for a given set of assumptions about injury and compensation. The ability to formulate many scenarios using the graphical interface is useful to evaluate alternative compensation strategies.



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