Applying the system of environmental economic accounting-ecosystem accounting (Seea-ea) framework at catchment scale to develop ecosystem extent and condition accounts

C.A. Farrell, L. Coleman, M. Kelly-Quinn, C.G. Obst, M. Eigenraam, D. Norton, C. O'donoghue, S. Kinsella, O. Delargy, J.C. Stout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ecosystem accounting is a tool to integrate nature into decision-making in a more structured way. Applying the use of nationally available datasets at catchment scale and following the System of Environmental Economic Accounting-Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EA) framework, we present results from a catchment case study in Ireland, highlighting findings specifically in relation to the development of ecosystem extent and condition accounts. In the absence of a national ecosystem map, CORINE landcover mapping formed the basic data for extent and type of ecosystems, distinguishing woodlands and forest, peatland and heathland, grasslands and cropland and urban areas, with limited coverage of linear freshwater rivers, hedgerows and coastal ecosystems. Additional remote sensing data provided higher resolution at catchment scale, while limited site-level survey data were available. Condition data gathered for reporting under the EU Water Framework Directive were available at sub-basin level for surface waterbodies. Data were available at national level for habitats reported for the EU under the Habitats Directive (59 habitats reported), covering ~ 25% of the study area. Data for ecosystem types outside of these reporting frameworks were in the form of ancillary data only, providing information on pressures, threats and intensity of use. Our findings in Ireland reflect work across the European region, highlighting the role of data gathering and stakeholder engagement. We outline some of the data gaps to provide information for future research and alignment of data for the purpose of NCA, both at catchment and national scale. © Farrell C et al.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOne Ecosystem
Publication statusPublished - 2021

JEL classifications

  • q57 - "Ecological Economics: Ecosystem Services; Biodiversity Conservation; Bioeconomics; Industrial Ecology"
  • q56 - "Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth"


  • Catchment scale
  • Ecosystem accounts
  • Ecosystem condition
  • Ecosystem extent
  • Ecosystem stocks

Cite this