Lessons learned from development of natural capital accounts in the United States and European Union

Kenneth J. Bagstad, Jane Carter Ingram, Carl D. Shapiro, Alessandra La Notte, Joachim Maes, Sara Vallecillo, C. Frank Casey, Pierre D. Glynn, Mehdi P. Heris, Justin A. Johnson, Chris Lauer, John Matuszak, Kirsten L.L. Oleson, Stephen M. Posner, Charles Rhodes, Brian Voigt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The United States and European Union (EU) face common challenges in managing natural capital and balancing conservation and resource use with consumption of other forms of capital. This paper synthesizes findings from 11 individual application papers from a special issue of Ecosystem Services on natural capital accounting (NCA) and their application to the public and private sectors in the EU and U.S. NCA is inherently a data-integration centered exercise, aiming to draw new insights by realigning environmental and economic data into a consistent framework. Drawing primarily on papers from the special issue and other key NCA literature, we identify lessons learned and gaps remaining for NCA's development and application to decision making. In doing so, we identify eight key similarities and three major differences in NCA development, status, and application between the U.S. and EU. NCA can be highly policy relevant: special issue papers address critical issues including agriculture, water, conservation/land-use planning, climate, and corporate decision making. In both the U.S. and EU, further application is needed to drive demand for the accounts’ production. Based on these experiences, the U.S. and EU can be important leaders in cross-sector, international collaboration toward next-generation environmental economic accounts that advance global NCA practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101359
JournalEcosystem Services
Volume52
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Sofia Ahlroth, Julie Hass, and Michael Vardon for constructive comments on earlier drafts of this paper. This work was conducted as part of the “Accounting for U.S. Ecosystem Services at National and Subnational Scales” working group supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding received from the National Science Foundation (grant DBI-1052875) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (grant GX16EW00ECSV00). Support for Bagstad’s time was provided by the USGS Land Change Science Program. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The scientific results and conclusions, as well as any views or opinions expressed herein, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the Department of Commerce. The content of this publication does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information given and views expressed in this paper lies entirely with the authors.

Funding Information:
We thank Sofia Ahlroth, Julie Hass, and Michael Vardon for constructive comments on earlier drafts of this paper. This work was conducted as part of the ?Accounting for U.S. Ecosystem Services at National and Subnational Scales? working group supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding received from the National Science Foundation (grant DBI-1052875) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (grant GX16EW00ECSV00). Support for Bagstad's time was provided by the USGS Land Change Science Program. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The scientific results and conclusions, as well as any views or opinions expressed herein, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the Department of Commerce. The content of this publication does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information given and views expressed in this paper lies entirely with the authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Keywords

  • Natural capital accounting
  • Private-sector accounting
  • SEEA Central Framework
  • SEEA Ecosystem Accounting
  • System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA)

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