Land Accounts

What is it? 

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) for land provide information on land use and land cover using the structures and principles laid out in the SEEA Central Framework. The SEEA Land Accounts can provide an assessment of the changing shares of different land uses and land cover within a country. Understanding these characteristics and changes is critical to understanding the impacts of urbanization, the intensity of crop and animal production, afforestation and deforestation, the use of water resources and other direct and indirect uses of land.

How it works 

SEEA land accounts consist of two main types of accounts to record land use and land cover and their links to the economy:

  1. Physical asset accounts: These accounts describe the area of land over an accounting period by land use and land cover or landownership (by industry or institutional sector). They show the various additions and reductions in land stocks associated with human activity and natural processes. 
  2. Monetary asset accounts: This set of accounts provides information on the overall value of land for agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and human activity, among other usages, primarily due to the revaluation of land.

Land Accounting and the SEEA Central Framework 

Land accounts are one of the many types of accounts covered by the SEEA Central Framework, all of which use the same accounting concepts. The SEEA Land Accounts provide an important resource to those working specifically in land accounting. 

Links to Ecosystem Accounting 

Land is a critical component of ecosystem accounting. Land accounts provide an important starting point for compiling ecosystem accounts and help define the relevant spatial areas for ecosystem accounting. They also support analysis of the links between ecosystem services supply and beneficiaries of those ecosystem services by providing information on land use and ownership. Click here for more information on the relationship between land and ecosystem accounting.

Links to Agri-Environmental Indicators

Land cover refers to the observed physical and biological land cover of the Earth’s surface, and includes natural vegetation and abiotic (non-living) surfaces. Land cover serves as one of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' agri-environmental indicators, designed to help monitor the environmental performance of agriculture activities. The indicator contains land cover information organized by the land cover classes of the SEEA Central Framework. Click here for more information and to access to the land cover database.