Natural Capital

© Hollandse Hoogte

Humans and the economy are highly dependent on the natural environment and the corresponding provision of products and services. Changes such as land degradation and the exploitation of natural resources are seen worldwide as a potential threat. To monitor the degree of dependency and the changes in the natural environment, a methodology in UN context is developed, the System of Environmental Accounting –  Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA).

The aim of the Natural Capital Accounts is to – literally – map the relationship between nature, the economy and well-being in an understandable and internationally comparable way. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) is collaborating with Wageningen University to develop models, data and maps to present the completest possible spatial account of the current situation of natural capital in the Netherlands. This system of accounts, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, is based on ecosystems services: the contribution of ecosystems to our economy and to other human activities.

International guidelines

The project complies with the guidelines of SEEA EA and contributes to further development of this accounting system. The figure below shows the logical interrelations of the large number of areas involved. The extent of an ecosystem together with its condition determine the volume and nature of ecosystem services it provides: the supply and use tables. The supply of services is assigned a monetary value and thus linked to the national accounts. In addition, datasets and maps have been developed to illustrate the carbon account and the biodiversity account. This is further elaborated on in the themes.  

Natural capital accounts