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UK Natural Capital: Developing UK Mountain, Moorland & Heathland Ecosystem Accounts

July 21, 2017 |

This article was originally published on Office for National Statistics

“This article scopes the development of ecosystem accounts for mountains, moorlands and heathlands and discusses several methodological challenges arising from the unique characteristics of these habitats. To help the development of initial accounts, recommendations are given where possible.


This work is part of the Office for National Statistics and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (ONS-Defra) Natural Capital Project. In 2015 a Natural Capital Accounting 2020 Roadmap was created, which discusses progress, challenges and objectives of the project. Among the objectives is the development of eight habitat-based ecosystem accounts, one of which being mountains, moorlands and heathlands (MMH).

Natural capital accounts offer a consistent way of monitoring our natural assets and can help identify drivers of ecosystem change. Development of monetary valuation in particular, aids this integration with other economic statistics, as economic and environmental data are presented in a consistent unit. The valuation estimates aim to raise awareness of the economic significance of natural capital and provide a basis on which changes in value of components of the UK’s natural capital can be recorded. In time, this information will help develop an aggregate indicator of sustainability.

The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) highlights the important role that mountains, moorlands and heathlands play as a highly “multi-functional” habitat, providing opportunities for carbon storage, biodiversity and water quality. MMH are home to some of the UK’s rarest species of flora and fauna and are recognised as “nationally treasured landscapes”; providing sources of inspiration and recreation. These features of MMH justify a stand-alone account…”

Read on at: Office for National Statistics.

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