Ecosystem accounting

Introduction

Protecting ecosystems and biodiversity are key policy targets in the EU’s biodiversity strategy for 2030 and the European Green Deal. EU and national policy makers require information on the extent and condition of ecosystems to improve their management. This web page presents EEA’s work on ecosystem accounting, within a European Commission project on accounting for ecosystems and their services (INCA) and beyond. Further information on purpose and outputs of the EU INCA project are available here.

An overview of EEA work on ecosystem accounting within is available via these two publications:
EEA report on natural capital accounting in support of policy making
EEA briefing on ecosystem extent and condition accounts

This webpage provides access to more detailed technical outputs that the EEA has developed as part of the EU INCA project and beyond. Please consult the sections below for details on different ecosystem accounting outputs

Ecosystem extent accounts

Ecosystem extent accounts give insight into the share of different ecosystem types in the European land area and how that changes over time. The following report on ecosystem accounts for Europe, 2000 – 2018 gives detailed insight into approach and results of EEA ecosystem extent accounts:

Analytical report on European ecosystem extent accounts 2000-2018

Annex 3 of the report on European ecosystem extent accounts 2000

Users can explore the European ecosystem extent accounts directly via this interactive data viewer.

Pilot ecosystem condition accounts

Ecosystem condition accounts aim to measure the overall quality of an ecosystem via indicators that relate to its inherent characteristics (such as diversity of species, nutrient levels etc). This is a complex challenge which can be assessed in two ways:

  • indirectly, by analysing pressures acting on ecosystems
  • directly, by tracking habitat condition, biodiversity and environmental quality.

The EEA has developed pilot ecosystem condition accounts that are examples of these two approaches — the rivers and lakes ecosystem condition account is based on direct measurement, while the spatial nutrient account analyses nutrient pressures. Please find these under these links:

Classifying ecosystem services

Since 2012 EEA has worked with the University of Nottingham and a wide range of international experts to develop a ‘Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services’ (CICES). The current version of CICES is available under this link: Resources

Further background information on the work of developing CICES is available via www.cices.eu

There was a workshop held in 2016 to review different ecosystem service classifications in an SEEA context, see here for documents linked to the workshop.

Further EEA ecosystem accounting outputs:

This section provides access to further technical work or discussion papers of EEA and its topic centres that have not been formally published as EEA publications. They are made available here to enable access to this technical resource for ecosystem accounting experts or others with a special interest in ecosystem accounting methodology. This compilation of technical output comprises:

Work on developing ecosystem accounting in the marine domain:

  • A technical proposal for developing pilot marine fish accounts: Marine Fish Accounts_pilot study_Final revised deliverable_2016
  • An academic paper (2016) co-authored by EEA and ETC/ICM staff: ‘Indicators of the ‘wild seafood’ provisioning ecosystem service based on the surplus production of commercial fish stocks
  • A report by the EEA Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine Waters (ETC/ICM): ETC/ICM Report 1/2019: Development of a pilot 'European seafloor integrity account' assessing fishing pressure on seabed
  • Analysis of potential for use of satellite data sets for ecosystem accounting:

    EEA has also invested a significant amount of work to look at the potential for use of satellite data sets for ecosystem accounting, as a contribution to the international GEO working group on ‘Earth observation for ecosystem accounting’ (EO4EA). This material consists of:

    Development of land and water accounts as foundation for ecosystem accounts

    The first description of EEA land accounts for Europe can be found in Report No 11/2006, which established the core principles and methods for land and ecosystem accounting at the EEA: Land accounts for Europe 1990-2000 — towards integrated land and ecosystem accounting

    This EEA briefing (2020) summarises the current approach and analytical use of land accounts at EEA: Land cover accounts – an approach to geospatial environmental accounting

    It is supported by this ETC/ULS report (2020) on Land and ecosystem accounts for Europe: Towards geospatial environmental accounting, by which the European Topic Centre on Urban, land and soil systems describes the technical background and implementation of EEA land and ecosystem accounts with ETC/ULS support

    The EEA water accounts are the first comprehensive physical water asset and flow accounts at the water basin scale covering much of Europe. This data base is the culmination of many years of work and was published in 2019.

    Work is ongoing to update the water accounts data base at the scale of WFD River Basin Districts. This will enable a more quantitative assessment of the impacts of drivers on water resources, state of water and freshwater ecosystems at the WFD RBD scale.

    The following reports and data sets represent key outputs of the EEA in relation to land and water accounting. This is formally part of the Central Framework of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA CF) but the work presented here underpins the production of EEA ecosystem accounts, so is included in this webpage.

    The first description of EEA land accounts for Europe can be found in Report No 11/2006, which established the core principles and methods for land and ecosystem accounting at the EEA: Land accounts for Europe 1990-2000 — towards integrated land and ecosystem accounting

    This EEA briefing (2020) summarises the current approach and analytical use of land accounts at EEA: Land cover accounts – an approach to geospatial environmental accounting

    It is supported by this ETC/ULS report (2020) on Land and ecosystem accounts for Europe: Towards geospatial environmental accounting, by which the European Topic Centre on Urban, land and soil systems describes the technical background and implementation of EEA land and ecosystem accounts with ETC/ULS support

    The EEA water accounts are the first comprehensive physical water asset and flow accounts at the water basin scale covering much of Europe. This data base is the culmination of many years of work and was published in 2019.

    Work is ongoing to update the water accounts data base at the scale of WFD River Basin Districts. This will enable a more quantitative assessment of the impacts of drivers on water resources, state of water and freshwater ecosystems at the WFD RBD scale.

    Outputs and workshops relating to methodological questions and account implementation: