Ecosystem accounting is a relatively new and emerging field dealing with integrating
complex biophysical data, tracking changes in ecosystems and linking those changes
to economic and other human activity. Considering the increasing demand for statistics
on ecosystems within analytical and policy frameworks on environmental sustainability,
human well-being and economic growth and development, there has been an increasing
urgency to advance this emerging field of statistics.
Although considerable experience exists in related areas of statistics such as land
cover and land use statistics, the integration of these and other information into
an ecosystem accounting framework is new. Also, there is considerable existing expertise
in the ecosystem sciences and economics fields that is relevant, and again it is the
focussing of these different areas of expertise on the proposed ecosystem accounting
approach that is new.
SEEA-Experimental Ecosystem Accounting provides a synthesis of the current knowledge
in this area and provides a starting point for the development of ecosystem accounting
at national and sub-national levels. It represents an important step forward on ecosystem
accounting, providing a common set of terms, concepts, accounting principles and classifications;
an integrated accounting structure of ecosystem services and ecosystem condition in
both physical and monetary terms; and the recognition of spatial areas as forming
the basic focus for measurement.