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A group of scientists from the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and Ikerbasque have demonstrated the feasibility of moving towards a widespread application of SEEA-EEA – the accepted international standard for environmental-economic accounting – compliant country-based accounts.
This work represents one of the first studies made available at such geographical scope using k.LAB, the technology powering ARIES, which is poised to automate accounting routines for producers of natural capital accounts.
Ferdinando Villa (ARIES lead investigator): ARIES provided a solution to apply and integrate a variety of globally available ecosystem services models and exchange value-based assessment methods, helping us to understand how different scenarios can improve the sustainability of the Italian landscape.
The spatial mapping and the assessment have been carried out in both physical and monetary terms for four ecosystem services – crop pollination, outdoor recreation, flood regulation and water provision –. One of the main conclusions of the research is the importance of stimulating nature-centred policies to improve land management and maintenance of the countryside and forestland.
According to researchers, policies like building biking paths, or helping farmers to reduce the use of pesticides would improve the suitability of the landscape both for outdoor recreation and pollinators’ services.
Similar policies for instance, planting trees around rivers, or protecting natural areas in the mountain regions of the country would diminish flood damages and prevent potential water scarcity in the future.
Stefano Balbi (ARIES managing director): This study opens way for country-based applications which will deliver an easy-to-use natural capital accounting technology for a more sustainable world.
ARIES is working with the United Nations in the development of an easy-to-use application that will allow the accounting of ecosystems automatically anywhere on Earth by the beginning of 2021. Learn more about it with our latest post: ARIES for SEEA-EEA for rapid natural capital accounts generation.
Check out the full paper ‘Biophysical and economic assessment of four ecosystem services for natural capital accounting in Italy‘.