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From the assessment to the accounting of Natural Capital. Development and progress through empirical applications
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Edited by Alessandra La Notte, Ioanna Grammatikopoulou, Sylvie Campagne

Natural Capital Accounts (NCA) are meant to complement the System of National Accounts (SNA), which represents the main source of information to assess the wealth of a country. To make NCA operational within and together with SNA, accounting mechanisms and rules have to be consistently applied. An evolution is foreseen from pure ecosystem and ecosystem services assessment to their structured accounting. After the System of integrated Environmental and Economic Accounts –Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EA) was proposed in 2012 by the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD) and recently adopted as a standard, there is a wide application of these accounting modules throughout the world. NCA is part of the wider SEEA accounting toolkit and is now the focus of considerable political commitment at Global, EU, national and regional scales. However, there is quite some uncertainty as to which accounts, which metrics can support which policy areas. With a broad range of application experiences (geographic, account types, policy priorities etc.), it is possible to enhance understanding of the relationship between the technical construction of the accounts and their use in decision making by end users. The goal of this topical collection is to present a number of applications of Ecosystem Accounting, that should ideally offer a series of insights to the discussion on how can natural accounts be composed, what are the challenges and what are the future development needs. It is also meant to identify the way forward – on accounts development, their use in policy areas, and how to interpret the results so that NCA can realize its potential.

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