Bridging the gap between national and ecosystem accounting

Septiembre 2017
Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP) CSIC, Working Paper. 2017-04

Pablo Campos, Alejandro Caparrós, José L. Oviedo, Paola Ovando, Begoña Álvarez-Farizo, Luis Díaz-Balteiro, Juan Carranza, Santiago Beguería, Mario Díaz, A. Casimiro Herruzo, Fernando Martínez-Peña, Mario Soliño, Alejandro Álvarez, María Martínez-Jáuregui, María Pasalodos-Tato, Pablo de Frutos, Jorge Aldea, Eloy Almazán, Elena D. Concepción, Bruno Mesa, Carlos Romero, Roberto Serrano-Notivoli, Cristina Fernández, Jerónimo Torres-Porras & Gregorio Montero

National accounting either ignores or fails to give due values to a country´s ecosystem services, products, total income and environmental asset variations. To overcome these shortcomings, we develop a spatially-explicit extended ecosystem accounting framework, which we test in the Mediterranean forests of Andalusia (Spain). This framework goes beyond the production boundary of standard national accounting by considering four private activities (forestry, hunting, residential and private amenity) and six public activities (mushroom, carbon, water, recreation, landscape and threatened biodiversity). To keep valuation consistent with standard accounts, we simulate exchange values for non-market goods and services. Manufactured capital and environmental assets are also integrated. Upon comparing extended to standard accounts, our results are 3.7 and 2.9 higher for gross value added and total income, respectively. These differences are explained primarily by the undervaluation of recreation, landscape and threatened biodiversity, and the omission of private amenity, carbon and water activities in standard accounts. Extended accounts, with their implementation of simulated exchange values, demonstrate that standard accounts measures only 17% of Andalusian forest ecosystem services.