Forest Enterprise England, working with environmental economics consultancy eftec, has produced a Natural Capital Account for 2015/16. We are the first organisation to do this for an entire landholding and will continue to work with others to develop them further in future years.
The Natural Capital Account provides a structured and transparent way of quantifying the full value of the services provided by the natural assets in FEE’s care and the impact of FEE’s management of them. The account reflects both value to the organisation (private value) and wider society (external value), providing a broader perspective compared to financial reporting.
The value of the services delivered by England’s woods and forests is estimated to be £11.9 bn. Over 95% of this value is as a result of the benefits it provides to society, for example through recreation and climate regulation. This value is not captured in traditional financial accounts.
The account should be interpreted as providing order of magnitude estimates based on the currently best available data and assumptions. While it provides a comprehensive account of the costs of management and commercial returns from the estate, it is currently a partial account. Some functions, such as air and water quality and flood risk mitigation, offer potentially significant additional value but further research is needed to be able to include this in the natural capital account. This means the values published in this report significantly underestimate the total value of our natural capital.
FEE’s ambition is to embed the account as a strategic management tool that will complement decision-making processes, through tracking the condition of natural capital and its value over time, and helping to understand sources of value and trade-offs in maintaining England’s national woods and forests.
Download the report here.