Natural Capital Laboratory Site Visit


Accounting for environmental, social, and economic impacts is an increasing priority for many organisations, and understanding and measuring natural capital, as part of this, is key. The Natural Capital Laboratory (NCL), set up in 2019 by AECOM, the Lifescape Project, landowners Emilia and Roger Leese, and the University of Cumbria, is a unique project to do just this: a live environment for identifying, quantifying, and valuing the impacts of re-wilding.


The Natural Capital Laboratory (NCL), located in the Scottish Highlands, near Loch Ness (approx. 50minutes south-west of Inverness), is restoring 100 acres of forest, restoring peatland and reintroducing lost species.

To determine the impact of restoration measures new digital tools and techniques have been adopted to quantify and communicate the complex data at scale.

Artificial intelligence, drone technology, earth observation data, GIS data, thermal imaging, 3D visualisations and virtual reality are all being used to increase the accuracy of tracking the live environment at the NCL and reduce the cost of acquiring and analysing data.

All the data feeds into a digital natural capital accounting tool that creates a web-based digital twin (a digital replica of the actual site). This platform stores and correlates different elements of the environment from soil or water quality to the increase or decrease of species, and carbon measurements. The findings are also supported by GIS data, audio, videos, virtual reality, and time lapse footage.

At this field visit we will hear from experts at the NCL team and see the restoration on site and the innovative tools and technologies being used.

Emilia A. Leese is a lawyer, rewilder, author and podcast host. She's the co-author of Think Like a Vegan: What everyone can learn from vegan ethics. Emilia is the host of the podcast titled Think Like a Vegan. She's also a public speaker, magazine editor and developed life skills and ethics workshops for underserved youth. Emilia’s been a corporate finance lawyer for over twenty years. She and her husband, Roger, own and run Birchfield Natural Capital Laboratory.

Roger Leese is co-founder and current Chair of the Board of Trustees of the multi-disciplinary rewilding NGO, the Lifescape Project. He works as a Partner at an international law firm where, amongst other things, he sits on the firm’s Responsible Business and ESG Boards. He and his wife, Emilia, own and run Birchfield Natural Capital Laboratory.

Milica Apostolovic is a Senior Consultant with AECOM’s Carbon + ESG practice. She is passionate about nature-based solutions, having previously worked as a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on forest landscape restoration, urban forestry, and mechanisms for monitoring the state of world’s forests. Within AECOM, Milica co-manages the Natural Capital Laboratory, an award-winning research project that aims to restore 100 acres of forests in the Scottish Highlands and reintroduce lost species, while also acting as a living environment for identifying, quantifying and valuing the impacts of ecosystem restoration.

This event is part of the #NatureRestorationScotland series of events hosted by the Scotland Committee to tie in with the 2024 Scotland conference.

Knowledge Level


Prior Knowledge



If attendees are bringing their own packed lunch/refreshments it needs to be vegan as there's a strict vegan food rule on the site.


Tickets Person(s) Price (£)
CIEEM Member Ticket 1
Non Member Ticket 1 £10.00