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Natural Asset Management Fundamentals

This course helps local government staff, engaged professionals in multiple disciplines, and community organizations, understand the field of natural asset management. Watch the videos for a taster!
stylized image of a river winding through land
  • Level: Introductory
  • Time commitment: 3 hours per module (4 modules in total) – 12 hours total
  • Learning product:Online course
  • Sector:multi-sector, infrastructure, city planning, agriculture, forestry, tourism, natural resource management
  • Language:English
  • Certificate available: completion certificate; microcredential program in development


Canadian communities face challenges of declining infrastructure quality and diminishing health and resilience of many ecosystems, a challenge made far more pressing by climate change.

To address this, leading local governments are starting to identify, value and account for natural assets in their financial planning and asset management programs as a means to develop deliver core services sustainably through a climate resilient green infrastructure.

This four-week online course covers core concepts, the most recent case examples and latest approaches to municipal natural asset management.

The learning is supported by readings, videos and live, interactive online sessions. Participants are encouraged to share their own knowledge and expertise in group-based discussion forums.

* The Natural Assets Management course material is available using the links below for self-learning but if you wish to attend a facilitated online course find details of this and related Adaptation Learning Network (ALN) courseshere.

Institutional background and trainers

Natural Asset Management by Roy Brooke is licensed underCC BY 4.0except where indicated. For external links to resources, review the rights and permission details.

This course is part of the Adaptation Learning Network: Inspiring Climate Action. This course is Creative Commons licensed and the content is free to use with attribution (for external links to resources, please review the rights and permission details).

This course is also offered as a facilitated online course by Royal Roads University. You can find registration information on the Adaptation Learning Network Portal.

Who would find this useful?

This course is designed to help local government staff, professionals in multiple disciplines who work with them, and community organizations, understand the field of natural asset management.

Training Material

Module 1 – Introduction to the course, municipal natural asset management & each other

In this module, we will become familiar with the core concepts of natural asset management – what it is, how it is defined, what it is based on, and how it came to be. We will also take time to understand each others’ interests in natural asset management so that collectively, we can help advance our various journeys in this fast-evolving field.

“Natural Asset Management Fundamentals – Module 1.1 Video by Roy Brooke, Adaptation Learning Network is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Module 2 – Natural asset management on the ground

The focus of this module is on the communities that have been leading the way on natural asset management. We will learn about how the original work in Gibsons, BC has spread to communities in 4 provinces; what the results have been so far, and why.

“Natural Asset Management Fundamentals – Module 2.0a Video by Roy Brooke, Adaptation Learning Network is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Module 3 – The enabling environment for natural asset management

Local governments do not operate in a vacuum and there are many factors that affect their ability to undertake natural asset management. The regulatory environment, financial frameworks, and multi-jurisdictional nature of land ownership mean that multiple actors will influence local government’s ability to manage natural assets for municipal service delivery. This ‘enabling environment’ becomes a critical consideration if the ultimate goal is to have Canada’s nearly 4000 local governments all undertaking natural asset management, not just a handful of leaders. In this module we will discuss this context, with particular focus on opportunities and barriers to accelerating the uptake of natural asset management.

“Natural Asset Management Fundamentals – Module 3.2 Video by Roy Brooke, Adaptation Learning Network is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Module 4 – So what?

In this module we will dig into your individual and group contexts to answer the question – “what could I being doing differently tomorrow than I am doing today, on natural asset management?”

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, participants will understand:

  • What natural asset management is, why it matters, and what conditions enable or hinder it
  • How natural asset management is relevant in your own disciplines or community contexts
  • What you may be able to do differently as a result of knowing more about natural asset management
  • Where you can get additional information on natural asset management

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