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Refined Systems of National Accounts and Experimental Ecosystem Accounting Versus the Simplified Agroforestry Accounting System: Testing in Andalusian Holm Oak Open Woodlands

AuthorsCampos Palacín, Pablo ; Álvarez, Alejandro; Oviedo Pro, José Luis ; Ovando Pol, Paola ; Mesa, Bruno; Caparrós Gass, Alejandro
KeywordsEcosystem services
Environmental asset
Change of environmental net worth
Environmental income
Environmental asset gain
Issue Date2020
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationForests 11(4): 393 (2020)
AbstractThe scientific debate over how to make visible the connections between the standard System of National Accounts (SNA) and its ongoing satellite Environmental Economic Ecosystem Accounting–Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA–EEA) is a challenge that is still pending. The literature on environmental accounting of agroforestry and silvopastoral landscapes rarely values the multiple ecosystem services of an area, an economic unit (e.g., farm), or a vegetation type (e.g., holm oak—Quercus ilex L.—open woodland). Generally, the literature presents the market value of the products consumed directly or a correction of the latter that reduces their exchange values in order to approximate them to their resource rents. In our previous publications, we have applied and compared our Agroforestry Accounting System (AAS) with the System of National Accounts (SNA), and we refined the latter to avoid the lag between income generation and its accounting in the period in which the product is extracted. These previous publications did not develop experimental applications of the SEEA–EEA with comparisons to the SNA and it being integrated into the AAS. The main novelty of this article is that, for the first time, we present detailed applications and comparisons of our developments of the refined SEEA–EEA and refined SNA with a simplified version of the AAS. The accounting frameworks applied take the production and capital accounts in the process of being updated by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) at the scale of the holm oak open woodlands of Andalusia into account. In this study, we compare three environmental accounting approaches for ecosystem services and environmental income measurements at basic and social prices: our slightly refined standard System of National Accounts (rSNA); our refined, updated and ongoing satellite System of Environmental Economic Accounting–Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (rSEEA–EEA); and our simplified Agroforestry Accounting System (sAAS). We tested them for 15 economic activities in 1408 thousand hectares of the predominantly mixed holm oak open woodland (HOW) land use tiles in the region of Andalusia, Spain. We considered the government institutional sector to be the collective owner of public economic activities, which we incorporated in the rSNA and the sAAS approaches. We discuss consistencies in environmental incomes identified from the results of the three ecosystem accounting frameworks applied to the HOW. The discrepancies in the measurement of ecosystem services of the government institutional sector between the rSEEA–EEA and the sAAS were due to the omission in the former of the government manufactured costs incurred in the supply of freely consumed public final products. The most notable finding of our comparison is that the ecosystem services and the environmental income results for individual market products offered the same values, whichever the ecosystem accounting framework applied. This was not the case with the ecosystem services of public products without market prices, due to the fact that the rSNA estimates these products at production cost and the rSEEA–EEA did not consider the government manufactured production costs and ordinary manufactured net operating margin of government final public product consumption. We also found that, according to modeling of the scheduled management of future biological resources of the HOW, the environmental income shows biological sustainability of the individual nature-based total product consumption.
Description© 2020 by the authors.
Publisher version (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/11/4/393
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