In a context of global warming and increasing environmental crises, international politics are shifting towards frameworks of environmental policies that should allow us to achieve sustainable development and increase human well-being in the coming decades. Ecosystem accounting has a role to play in the development and monitoring of such policies by offering a unique approach through the ecosystem perspective. It measures ecosystems stocks and their flows of services both in physical and monetary terms along with their condition status and spatial information on their extent and geographical locations. This document gives an overview of Ecosystem Accounting along with the definition of ecosystems and why they are important.
To meet increasing national and international requirements for official statistics on ecosystems, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) created the Ecosystem Accounts Division (EAD) in 2020. The EAD is tasked with the goal of developing Irish ecosystem accounts. Based on the SEEA-EA framework, the EAD works with other organisations to compile a series of thematic modules focused on specific ecosystem types. Each thematic module will aim to provide, pending the availability of the data, information on the spatial extent, condition and services of the ecosystem of interest both in physical and monetary terms. These modules will then be brought together to produce the extent, condition, services and monetary ecosystem accounts of Ireland. The compilation of a comprehensive set of ecosystem accounts is a long-term goal and the methodology is under development.
The EAD also develops the CSO’s capabilities for future reporting of ecosystem accounts at European level since the European Commission (EUROSTAT) is working on the introduction of an Ecosystem Accounts data collection module.
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