Accounting for ecosystem and ecosystem services is gaining growing attention. Human activities (including both economic sectors and households) do affect the capacity of ecosystem units to provide services that in turn generate benefits. To measure environmental resources as tangible benefits that enter the market circuit or that are withdrawn for own consumption is not sufficient. Only the assessment of services as flows can provide us with relevant information on issues such as sustainable /unsustainable management practices and land use, and the identification of a causality nexus between human actors and ecosystem services.
Several international organizations and institutions are working on a coherent and consistent proposal able to launch applications worldwide: the System of integrated Environmental and Economic Accounts- Experimental Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA-EEA). The core system remains the System of National Accounts (SNA), whose scope is enlarged through a series of external satellite accounts.
The SEEA-EEA is an excellent starting point to address the accounting of ecosystems and ecosystem services, however it is by putting in practice the accounting for a wide range of ecosystem services that a final methodological guidance can be written.
The objective of the TWG17 is to consider some major issues that can promote research, discussion and applications in accounting for ecosystems and ecosystem services. Specifically:
- The linkage between ecosystems and ecosystem services when accounting in physical terms
- The difference between ecosystem services and benefits from an operational point of view
- Ecosystem services and the ecological production function in accounting
- The monetary valuation of ecosystem services in accounting – techniques and meaning
- The scales of ecosystem and ecosystem service accounts – national Vs. local
- The policy uses of ecosystem and ecosystem service accounts.