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Towards a consistent approach for ecosystem accounting

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  • Edens, Bram
  • Hein, Lars

Abstract

In spite of an increasing interest in environmental economic accounting, there is still very limited experience with the integration of ecosystem services and ecosystem capital in national accounts. This paper identifies four key methodological challenges in developing ecosystem accounts: the definition of ecosystem services in the context of accounting, their allocation to institutional sectors; the treatment of degradation and rehabilitation, and valuing ecosystem services consistent with SNA principles. We analyze the different perspectives taken on these challenges and present a number of proposals to deal with the challenges in developing ecosystem accounts. These proposals comprise several novel aspects, including (i) presenting an accounting approach that recognizes that most ecosystems are strongly influenced by people and that ecosystem services depend on natural processes as well as human ecosystem management; and, (ii) recording ecosystem services as either contributions of a private land owner or as generated by a sector ’Ecosystems’ depending on the type of ecosystem service. We also present a consistent approach for recording degradation, and for applying monetary valuation approaches in the context of accounting.

Suggested Citation

  • Edens, Bram & Hein, Lars, 2013. "Towards a consistent approach for ecosystem accounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 41-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:90:y:2013:i:c:p:41-52
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.03.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Remme, Roy P. & Edens, Bram & Schröter, Matthias & Hein, Lars, 2015. "Monetary accounting of ecosystem services: A test case for Limburg province, the Netherlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 116-128.
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    8. Ovando, Paola & Campos, Pablo & Oviedo, José L. & Caparrós, Alejandro, 2016. "Ecosystem accounting for measuring total income in private and public agroforestry farms," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 43-51.
    9. repec:eee:ecoser:v:14:y:2015:i:c:p:12-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:ecomod:v:289:y:2014:i:c:p:124-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:ecoser:v:10:y:2014:i:c:p:6-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Martin, Jean-Christophe & Mongruel, Rémi & Levrel, Harold, 2018. "Integrating Cultural Ecosystem Services in an Ecosystem Satellite Account: A Case Study in the Gulf of Saint-Malo (France)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 141-152.
    13. repec:eee:ecoser:v:12:y:2015:i:c:p:71-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Vardon, Michael & Burnett, Peter & Dovers, Stephen, 2016. "The accounting push and the policy pull: balancing environment and economic decisions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 145-152.

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