This interview was originally published on Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services.
The world’s biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate – and with it, many of the benefits that we derive from ecosystems. New advances in Natural Capital Accounting may allow for a better understanding of the links between species, environmental sustainability, and economic activity. WAVES recently spoke with Steven King, Environmental Economist at the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center, about his latest work on species accounting, Exploring Approaches for Constructing Species Accounts in the Context of the SEEA-EEA.
“Q: What are species accounts?
A: Species accounts track and measure the status of species over time, looking at their abundance or, if there is insufficient data, looking at some other measure that can act as a proxy for abundance, like the extent of suitable habitat for particular species or species groups.
Q: How are species accounts different from the kind of population counts that conservationists might do?
A: The utility of accounting for species within the System of Economic-Environmental Accounts – Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EEA) framework is that is makes it easier to communicate about the state of a species or group of species, and then to aggregate and analyze trends in the context of economic activity, ecosystem condition and services. Ideally, the accounts link statistics on species with wider statistics on ecosystems, economics, land use and society…”