Eurostat launches data collection on ecosystem extent accounts

On 19 December 2023, Eurostat launched a data collection on ecosystem extent accounts for countries that are part of the European Statistical System (ESS). It is the first official EU data collection on ecosystem accounts and for the moment countries are invited to submit data on a voluntary basis.

The data collection follows the terms and definitions of SEEA Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) and further technical specifications and practical guidance as summarized in the Guidance note on ecosystem extent accounts.  An important element of the Guidance note is the EU ecosystem typology, developed for a comparable and coordinated reporting on ecosystem accounts in the ESS. The Guidance note and the typology were prepared by the task force on ecosystem accounting (established in mid-2021) with participation of all EU countries, EFTA countries and candidate countries.  

The launch of this data collection is an important milestone in the development of ecosystem accounting in the EU and will be followed by voluntary data collections for ecosystem services accounts and ecosystem condition accounts later in 2024. These voluntary data collections serve as a preparation for the planned future mandatory reporting on ecosystem accounts under the planned amended EU Regulation on European environmental-economic accounts. 

Eurostat runs several data collections on air emissions, including greenhouse gases and pollutants, material flow accounts, environmental taxes, environmental sector, expenditure on environmental protection and energy flows. All these data collections are annual and mandatory for EU Member States. Eurostat also publishes quarterly estimates of greenhouse gases 4½ months after the reference quarter. Eurostat publishes all those data results in the Eurostat online database, as well as articles (see Statistics Explained pages) and other material. Eurostat also publishes air emission footprints and two datasets with material footprints (aggregate and detailed). Eurostat proposes three more European environmental accounts on forests, ecosystems and environmental subsidies. This proposal is being discussed in the European Parliament and the Council.

More information on environmental statistics and accounts in the ESS can be found on the environment statistics section of the Eurostat website.