Integrated landscape management and natural capital accounting: working together for sustainable development

The WAVES partnership supports several countries with the development of Natural Capital Accounts (NCAs). At the request of the WAVES partnership, PBL has evaluated how NCAs can inform Integrated Landscape Management (ILM), and vice versa, for achieving sustainable development more effectively.

Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) and Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) are relatively new frameworks that were separately developed. Both frameworks synthesize a range of theories and practices that can contribute to the ongoing global effort of achieving sustainable development. This paper explores the links between ILM and NCA that can be made and the benefits of this for decision makers.

ILM is an alternative to conventional sectoral management of natural resources, recognising that the landscape level is often the best scale for managing interactions, synergies and trade-offs in the various aspects of natural resource management. NCA is an information platform that systematically organises economic and environmental information, expanding the coverage of the System of National Accounts that produces the indicator GDP.

As ILM and NCA are both relatively new, there has been little interaction until now. Drawing on experiences of countries as well as expert opinions, we conclude that NCA can contribute to ILM throughout the decision-making cycle. Even with the limited integration to date of ILM in NCA (and vice versa) the potentials benefits of this appear great.

Realising the potential benefits of integration of ILM and NCA requires:
• Greater understanding and engagement between the two professional communities as well as with decision makers involved in land management;
• Developing and sharing of examples of successful applications of NCA to ILM;
• Better raw data for NCA;
• Building trust in both information and the decision-making processes of ILM and NCA.

The paper concludes that progressing integration of ILM and NCA for better decision making would be advanced by joint pilot projects. The experience from these project would enable practical issues to be addressed by the ILM and NCA communities and would be a significant step to achieving sustainable development.


PBL Authors
Ezra Berkhout Johan Meijer
Other authors
Michael Vardon
Chloe Hill


Publication title
Integrated landscape management and natural capital accounting: working together for sustainable development
Publication date
8 May 2020
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