WAVES Developing Guidelines for Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Accounting

23 April 2014: The Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) Policy and Technical Experts Committee (PTEC) is developing a guidance document to help countries value coastal ecosystems. ‘Guidelines for Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Accounting: Incorporating the Protective Service Values of Coral Reef and Mangroves in National Wealth Accounts,’ a PTEC Project Brief, outlines the scope and process of developing such a guidance document.

While methodologies for measuring and valuing provisioning services, such as resource extraction, are included in some countries’ gross domestic product (GDP) calculations, methodologies for including regulating services, such as coastal protection services, carbon storage and fisheries enhancement, into national economic accounts are not well developed, according to WAVES. WAVES aims to address this gap through its guidance document.

WAVES will develop a methodology for including the protective services of coral reefs and mangroves in national economic accounts, with an emphasis on coastal protection and development planning. Key variables will include factors that create variation in ecosystem services and their coastal defense functions, such as how certain habitats affect erosion and flooding. WAVES also aims to identify policies that encourage ecosystem protection, particularly for coastal protection, risk reduction and restoration.

The document will include a section on coral reefs and another on mangrove forests, which discusses threats from their conversion for aquaculture, agriculture, infrastructure and urban growth. This section will also address mangroves’ role in coastal protection, carbon storage and sequestration, and fisheries enhancement. The document will also include two sections reviewing: models that evaluate the extent and value of mangrove and coral reef protective services; and existing valuation studies of coral reefs and mangroves and approaches for integrating ecosystem service values into national accounts. Finally, the publication will discuss the application of ecosystem service models to decision-making at different scales.

Document preparation will take place over 12 months, until February 2015, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC). As part of this process, WAVES will convene an expert workshop to discuss the draft document and develop recommendations.

WAVES is a global partnership led by the World Bank that aims to promote sustainable development by mainstreaming natural capital in development planning and national economic accounting systems.

Source: Biodiversity Policy & Practice

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