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Considerations in environmental science and management for the design of natural asset checks in public policy appraisal

Howard, B.M.; Hails, R.S.; Watt, A.; Potschin, M.; Haines-Young, R.. 2011 Considerations in environmental science and management for the design of natural asset checks in public policy appraisal. In: Natural Capital Asset Check Scoping Workshop, London, 11 May 2011.

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Abstract/Summary

In 2010, the Government Economic Service Review of the Economics of Sustainable Development recommended that a natural asset check should be investigated for use in the appraisal of public policy options. Considerations in environmental science and management can help to ensure that issues such as the ecological thresholds, cumulative impacts, the selection of appropriate accounting units and risk are handled appropriately in any natural asset check. Based on assessment of the contribution of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) and other work, this paper makes a series of propositions in relation to the design of a natural asset check: 1. While the UK NEA draws together much of the information needed to design a natural asset check, a development of this framework will be required in order to perform the check. 2. Some kind of accounting model is likely to be more useful as a basis for a natural asset check than the frameworks used for ecosystem assessments. 3. A classification approach that links ecosystem services to the natural assets that underpin them is probably more efficient in capturing what is important in policy terms, than one that is based on a more abstract and generic classification of assets. 4. There are sufficient data resources available for a preliminary audit of natural assets to be made. 5. While a focus on non-marginal or irreversible changes in natural systems is important, it would be too restrictive to make this the exclusive concern of any natural asset check. 6. What might be considered critical natural assets may change as knowledge develops or circumstances change. Therefore, a ‘one-off’ natural asset check is unlikely to be reliable for policy analysis in the long term. Periodic audit will be necessary.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Hails
Watt
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Available online - click on Official URL link for full text. Paper presented at a workshop hosted by Defra.
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 20 Nov 2012 17:10
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/20473

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