Title: Ecosystem services accounting - Part II Pilot accounts for crop and timber provision, global climate regulation and flood control
Authors: VALLECILLO RODRIGUEZ SARALA NOTTE ALESSANDRAKAKOULAKI GEORGIAKAMBERAJ JURGENAROBERT NICOLASDOTTORI FRANCESCOFEYEN LUCREGA CARLOMAES JOACHIM
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2019
JRC N°: JRC116334
ISBN: 978-92-76-02905-2 (online)
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 29731 EN
OP KJ-NA-29731-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC116334
DOI: 10.2760/631588
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The Knowledge Innovation Project on an Integrated system of Natural Capital and ecosystem services Accounting (KIP INCA) aims to develop a set of experimental accounts at the EU level, following the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Experimental Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EEA). The application of the SEEA EEA framework is useful to illustrate ecosystem accounts with clear examples, to further develop the methodology outlined in the United Nations Technical Recommendations, and to give guidance for Natural Capital Accounting. This report assesses and accounts for four ecosystem services (ES): crop provision, timber provision, global climate regulation, and flood control. The methodology applied for the accounts of each ecosystem service depends on the nature of the service and on data availability. Crop provision account is based on official statistics on yield production. Here, we combine yield statistics with a novel approach to disentangle the yield generated by the ecosystem from what is generated by the human inputs (i.e., planting, irrigation, chemical products). Timber provision account follows a similar rationale, but the data to assess the ecosystem contribution is derived from economic aggregates. The global climate regulation account uses carbon sequestration as a proxy. The account is built on the ecosystem CO2 uptake reported in the Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) inventories at country level. Copernicus data (Dry Matter Productivity) have been also used to map CO2 uptake by forest (the only ecosystem type acting across countries and over time, as reported in LULUCF inventories). Maps of CO2 uptake are useful to make comparisons with other ecosystem services in a later stage of the project, in particular to assess synergies and trade-offs. Complementarily, we also provide a thematic account for soil organic carbon based on data from Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS). However, this information is considered as an asset account in physical terms because it quantifies organic carbon stocks into the soil, and not flows. The valuation method used for crop and timber provision is based on market values and for global climate regulation is a proxy of market values. The account of flood control by ecosystems is the only service in this report based on biophysical modelling. Different components of the ecosystem service have been quantified: ES potential, ES demand, actual flow (or service use), and unmet demand. The actual flow, quantified as the hectares of demand benefiting from ecosystems in a given year, is also translated into monetary terms using as valuation technique the avoided damage cost. Results of the accounts at the EU level for the first period assessed (year 2000-2006) show a decrease of the monetary value of the services for crop (-5%) and timber provision (-2%), and a very slight increase for global climate regulation (+0.4%). The account for flood control was not available for the first period because of the lack of data, which is a limiting factor for a regularly updated ecosystem service account. In contrast, for the second period assessed (year 2006-2012), all four service show an increase in their monetary value: +34% for crop provision, +2% for timber provision, and +1.3% for global climate regulation and +1.14% for flood control. The use of spatially explicit models for the account of flood control provides very useful information to understand the drivers of changes in the value of this service. The increase of artificial areas benefiting from ecosystems controlling floods increases the value of flood control by ecosystems; however, its value per unit of economic asset decreases. This, together with an increase of the demand not covered by the ecosystem for artificial areas (i.e., unmet demand), show that there is a negative trend in the role of natural capital covering the need for flood control in these areas. So far, six ecosystem service accounts have been developed: crop and timber provision, crop pollination, global climate regulation, flood control and nature-based recreation. The supply table at the EU level for all these six ecosystem services in 2012 shows woodland and forest as the ecosystem type with the highest absolute (~70 billion euro) and relative values (~44 thousand euro/km2). In absolute terms, cropland appears as the second most important ecosystem given its large extent at the EU level; however, when it comes to relative values (value per square kilometre) cropland is among the ecosystem services with the lowest value. Complementary, the use table shows households, followed by the agriculture sector, as the main beneficiaries of these ecosystem services; receiving an annual monetary flow of about ~62 billion euro and ~25 billion euro, respectively. The experimental accounts shown for these ecosystem services, in a consistent way with the SEEA EEA, are useful to further develop the methodology applied for ecosystem services accounts. We also discuss about the advantaged and disadvantaged of the different data sources and methods used. Future releases of pilot ecosystem services accounts will include water purification, habitat maintenance and soil erosion control. The final integrated assessment will be carried out at the end of the KIP INCA project, when a more comprehensive list of ecosystem services become available. The integration of ecosystem services accounts will be useful to make trade-offs in decision making more transparent, inform efficient use of resources, enhance resilience and sustainability, and avoid unintended negative consequences of policy actions.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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