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Applying Natural Capital Accounting in the agro-environmental policy area

  • 1 January, 2019
  • Wageningen University, Environmental Systems Analysis
  • prof. dr LG Hein
  • dr ir LGJ van Bussel

Agri-environment measures (AEMs) are the main tools of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to enhance biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services (ESs) on European farmland. However, AEMs have been challenged on their environmental effectiveness. This led to the reform of the Dutch policy: since 2016, AEMs have been implemented by farmers collectives to improve spatial coordination over the extent of species’ habitats. However, the environmental effectiveness of this implementation has not yet been assessed.
The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EEA) is a system for Natural Capital Accounting (NCA). It provides a spatially explicit assessment of the biophysical supply and use of ESs. It has thus the potential to be used in assessing the links between AEMs and the supply and use of ESs by the agriculture sector. However, the current SEEA EEA conceptual framework does not explicitly address key needs related to assessing AEMs.
This research project aims to assess the potential use of the SEEA EEA framework for agro-environmental policies. Starting from the analysis of the alignment of the current SEEA EEA framework with agro-environmental policy needs, propositions to better adapt the framework for this purpose will be developed. Next these propositions will be tested on AEM-related questions in case studies. Finally, I will assess how input data at varying spatial resolutions affect results of ecosystem accounting and discuss implications on applying ecosystem accounting in agro-environmental policy in the Netherlands and Europe.

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Nicolas Grondard

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