Biophysical modelling

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting—Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) was recently adopted by the united Nations Statistical Commission at its 52nd session in March 2021. At the same time the Commission encouraged countries to implement the system depending on their priorities and, recognizing the challenges to compiling the accounts in practice, requested the development of compilation tools which make use of global data sources and to create an implementation strategy and methodological and implementation guidance materials for countries in support of continued capacity building.

In response to this request, Guidelines on Biophysical Modelling for Ecosystem Accounting are being developed. The Guidelines provide an overview of data sources, methods and practical advice on the compilation of extent, condition and ecosystem services accounts in physical units. The Guidelines also provide process guidance for institutions starting SEEA EA implementation.

The Guidelines are an output of the Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) project, funded by the European Union. They have been developed under the auspices of the SEEA EA Technical Committee, a committee formed under the United Nations Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA). An editorial board was established to provide expert advice and guidance on the drafting of the text. In addition, a large number of experts who have been involved in the revision process of the SEEA EA have also contributed to various drafts and provided comments.

 

Global consultation on the Guidelines

In April 2021, the draft Guidelines have been submitted to a formal process of global consultation to all the national statistical offices globally and a wide community of experts. All comments on the Guidelines should be provided using the below comments form by 14 May 2021. The comments received will not be made public but used to finalise the Guidelines.  

 

Given the fast-paced development of modelling of ecosystem services and global data sources, several tables, as indicated in the Guidelines, will be made available as living documents here.  

 

Supplemental materials and tables

Given the fast-paced development of modelling of ecosystem services and global data sources, several tables, as indicated in the document, will be made available as living documents here.  

Ecosystem accounting toolkit

The following guidelines and tools to support implementation are being developed:

  • Guidelines for scenario analysis (coming soon)
  • Guidelines for valuation of ecosystem services and assets (coming soon)
  • ARIES for SEEA explorer - a tool to support the compilation of ecosystem accounts
  • LUCI tools for SEEA

Background materials

1. Presentation on the Guidelines on Biophysical Modelling for Ecosystem Accounting from the Virtual Expert Forum on SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting 2020

2. Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) project – Progress of implementation background document from the 2020 meeting of the UNCEEA

3. Materials and presentations from Session 4a: Advances in biophysical modelling for ecosystem accounting from the 2019 Forum of Experts on SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting: