Environmental accounts for resources and territory at local scale: two case studies testing possible future guidelines - Asset accounts are one of the main groups of environmental account modules. They refer to natural resources and ecosystems. On the one hand natural resource accounts are well developed and they are going to be soon standardized. On the other hand the EEA is still developing ecosystem accounts. As it happens for natural resource accounts, the question arises on how to apply the complex framework of ecosystem accounts at different scales: from the global to the national to the local. Different users will have different purposes to serve: the simplified accounts will help addressing some global issues, while there will be a rigorous framework for ecosystem accounts at national level and probably some guidelines will be applied to the (necessarily) flexible local contexts. The two case studies presented in this article attempt to propose a general procedure to build a balance for the territory: both economic and non economic (ecosystem) functions are valued adopting the theoretical base underlying the Total Economic Value and the accounting framework proposed by the IEEAF. In the first case study the opening stock of Cansiglio forest is assessed by quantifying in physical and monetary terms: the productive, protective, recreational functions together with the carbon stock and biodiversity. The same functions are valued for the second case study, the St.Erasmo island within the Lagoon of Venice, by using different methods and different reference units. In both applications the used georeferenced databases highly contribute to the final valuation. There are some important results to highlight when considering the weights of each function in the TEV. Although the feasibility of applying this procedure, there are some critical issues that need to be discussed. The first issue is related to the classification of ecosystems services/functions: recently some international workshop took place in order to harmonize the environmental accounting classification reported in the SEEA2003 with the most important classifications currently debated on the international arena (e.g. MEA and TEEB). The case studies proved to be useful not only for the results they provide but also for the critical questions they raised in order to better address the future research in this issues.
Keywords: Environmental accounting, asset accounts, valuation, TEV, spatial assessment
Jel Code: Q23, Q24, Q51, Q56, Q57