Natural Capital Accounting is needed for bridging the gap between natural ecosystems and economics
Natural Capital Accounting aims at measuring the natural capital stocks and their changes in time and space, and including them into national accounting systems. Natural capital includes all natural structures e.g. ecosystems and species that are essential for provision of the ecosystem services and human benefits.
The need for developing the Natural Capital Accounting system has risen from the degradation of natural environment due to human actions. A weak integration of ecology and economy has resulted in a disconnection of economic analysis from the functioning of ecosystems. Thus, the consequences of degradation of natural ecosystems are currently not linked to economic activities. Valuation approaches hardly capture the impacts of different human activities on ecosystem services, thereby failing in the achievement of sustainable use of natural resources and in ensuring their availability for future generations.
MAREA project aims at integrating the natural capital and economics for accounting purposes by:
- Developing a conceptual model of Natural Capital Accounting that integrates ecosystem services and pressures coming from human activities and links them to the national accounting systems via relevant economic sectors in the two pilot areas: Gulf of Finland and Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea.
- Testing the conceptual model by using the data from ecosystem services modelling produced in the project (please see “Ecosystems service mapping and modelling” for more details), and assessing the trade-offs and feed-backs of marine ecosystem and anthropocentric systems in the pilot areas.
Natural capital is the basis of ecosystem services that include regulating, provisioning and cultural values.
Photo by Pekka Sihvonen, Museovirasto//
Kallbådan lighthouse, Kirkkonummi Finland