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    Biophysical and economic assessment of four ecosystem services for natural capital accounting in Italy2020

    BALBI S., BOSCHETTO R.G., CAPRIOLO A., MASCOLO R.A., VILLA F.Journaux et Revues (scientifiques)

    biens et services écosystémiques, capital humain, inondation, valeur d'usage, valeur non marchande ou de non usage, valeurs récréatives ou d'agrément

    Ecosystem Services
    Volume 46, December 2020, 101207

    • First official and nationwide biophysical and economic assessment and natural capital accounts of four ecosystem services in Italy using a variety of methods.

    • Different market-based monetary valuation methods used to enable alignment with national accounts.

    • The ARIES modelling platform allows for data and model integration to produce accounts in a faster, more replicable, and transparent fashion.

    We present methods and results of country-based natural capital assessments for four ecosystem services (ES) in Italy. The spatial mapping and the assessment have been carried out in both physical and monetary terms for (i) crop pollination, (ii) outdoor recreation, (iii) flood regulation (iv) and water provision, using the ARIES (Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services) technology, which provides and integrates the necessary data and models. Extent, supply and use accounting tables have been developed for the same ecosystem services in line with the United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting (UN-SEEA) guidelines and Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (EEA) initiative. This work represents a first official and nationwide assessment of ecosystem services for the Italian Government in accomplishment of the Italian law n. 221/2015, applying a variety of different models and economic valuation methods to provide systematic and replicable information on natural capital through national accounting tables. We find that land management and maintenance of the countryside and forestland, which represent the typical Italian landscape, are fundamental. Our application also identifies several modelling challenges that need to be addressed before a methodological path for integrated ecosystem and economic accounting may be considered rigorous and reliable.

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