Scottish Natural Capital Accounts: 2023

This report estimates quantity and value of services supplied by Scotland's natural capital.

2. Understanding natural capital

Natural wealth is reflected in things like the productivity of soils and access to clean water. Any natural resource or process that supports human life, society and the economy forms a part of our natural capital. We are estimating both the current value and what it could provide for future generations. Valuing natural capital is an important part of a wider move to better understand inclusive wealth, as described in The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review.

Natural capital monetary estimates should be interpreted as a partial or minimum value of the services provided by the natural environment, as several services, such as flood protection from natural resources, are not currently measured. We continue to work to encompass as much of the economic value of the natural world as possible, which is challenging given its scale and complexity. In addition to economic value, as part of the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) (PDF, 5.3MB), we are continuing to develop methods for tracking changes in the ecosystem's extent and condition.

As a result of changing methods and an expanding portfolio of natural services measured, these latest accounts cannot be compared with previous years' accounts on a like-for-like basis. The latest methods developed have been applied retrospectively, giving a consistent time series.

All monetary valuations are given in constant 2021 prices.

You can view and download the complete list of data and sources used in this publication on our All data related to Scotland natural capital accounts: 2023 page.



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