Towards a method for accounting for ecosystem services and asset value: Pilot accounts for KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 2005-2011

Document Summary: 
Countries monitor their economic performance through the System of National Accounting (SNA), a standardised international methodology which delivers widely used indicators. While the SNA keeps track of man-made capital and goods and services, it does not keep track of natural capital. This has an important bearing for long term sustainability if natural capital is being depleted in the achievement of economic growth. Natural capital accounting applies national accounting principles to systematically measure and monitor ecosystems for decision making and planning. The primary purpose is to integrate information on ecosystem condition and ecosystem services with information in the standard national accounts and to treat ecosystem services and assets in a way that is comparable to the treatment of produced assets and standard goods and services as described in the SNA. This study forms part of the Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) Project which involves the development of pilot physical and monetary ecosystem accounts. The NCAVES Project was launched in 2017 by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with funding from the European Union (EU) with the aim to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental and ecosystem accounting and initiate pilot testing of System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (EEA). The main aim of this study was to provide a first set of monetary ecosystem accounts at a sub-national scale in South Africa, following SEEA EEA guidelines. The accounts were compiled for the province of KwaZulu-Natal, focusing on inland terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including agricultural systems and urban green space, but not including marine ecosystems. Spatial models were developed for a predetermined set of ecosystem services in order to quantify and value the supply of ecosystem services from various ecosystem assets across the province
Turpie, J.K., Letley, G. , Schmidt, K., Weiss, J., O’Farrell, P. and Jewitt, D.
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South Africa
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