One Ecosystem calls for papers that report ecosystem accounts

To help implement ecosystem accounts, the One Ecosystem journal provides a platform for scientists and statisticians to publish newly compiled accounting tables.

In March 2021, the UN Statistical Commission adopted the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA).

SEEA EA is a spatially-based, integrated statistical framework for organising biophysical information about ecosystems, measuring ecosystem services, tracking changes in ecosystem extent and condition, valuing ecosystem services and assets and linking this information to measures of economic and human activity. 

To help implement ecosystem accounts, the One Ecosystem journal provides a platform for scientists and statisticians to publish newly compiled accounting tables. 

The “Ecosystem Accounts” permanent collection welcomes articles that describe and report ecosystem accounting tables, compiled following the standards set by the SEEA EA. The current version of the framework is fully described in United Nations et al. (2021). System of Environmental-Economic Accounting—Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA), available as a white cover publication, pre-edited text subject to official editing at: https://seea.un.org/ecosystem-accounting.

This collection does not accept research papers on ecosystem accounting that solely report new developments on accounting methods, such as new models for ecosystem services, new indicators for ecosystem condition or new techniques for monetary valuation of ecosystems. 

The inclusion of a compiled ecosystem accounting table is mandatory for this collection. Otherwise, papers will be diverted to the regular issue of One Ecosystem. In such cases, the authors may also choose to submit their contributions to another topical collection. 

Detailed instructions for authors

Submitting authors need to select One Ecosystem as a journal and “Ecosystem Accounting table” as an article template in ARPHA Writing Tool

Submissions to this collection shall respect the following requirements:

Introduction:

  • The introduction makes clear reference to the type (or types) of account(s) submitted, the accounting area, and the accounting period. The introduction should contain a clear reference to the SEEA EA. 
  • The following accounting tables can be published with data referring to a specific accounting area and for a given accounting period:
  • Ecosystem extent account – physical terms: Total extent of area of one or more ecosystem types 
  • Ecosystem condition account – physical terms: (Aggregated) data on selected ecosystem characteristics and optionally the distance from a reference condition.
  • Ecosystem services flow account – physical terms: Physical supply of final ecosystem services by ecosystem assets and the use of those services by economic units.
  • Ecosystem services flow account – monetary terms: The monetary estimate of final ecosystem services by ecosystem assets and the use of those services by economic units.
  • Monetary ecosystem asset account – monetary terms: Stocks and changes in stocks (additions and reductions) of ecosystem assets in monetary terms.

Data and methods

  • This section describes which typologies or classifications have been used to classify ecosystems, ecosystem condition indicators, ecosystem services, or economic sectors. Preference should be given to different typologies proposed by SEEA EA, but deviations or other typologies are acceptable as well. 
  • The section provides a list of all ecosystem types, variables, indicators, or economic sectors used in the accounting tables and it provides references to the data sources used to quantify them. 
  • Optionally, papers justify the use of variables and indicators making reference to specific selection criteria. 
  • For ecosystem service accounts, this section describes or refers to the methods used to quantify ecosystem services.
  • For monetary accounts, this section describes or refers to the methods used to assign monetary values to ecosystem services.
  • The use of supplementary materials is recommended in case the description of data and methods is too long. In that case, this section contains a summary of the data and methods. 

Accounting tables and results

  • This section presents the accounting table(s). Ideally, this section presents the most aggregated version of the accounting table(s), while detailed versions with a high number of rows and columns can be easily published as a spreadsheet in the supplement section of the paper.
  • Stylised versions of accounting tables are available in the SEEA EA guidelines. A stylized example for each ecosystem accounting table is available in MS Excel. It is highly recommended to follow these examples to the maximum possible extent. 
  • Graphs or maps that illustrate the accounting tables or that provide key results used to compile the accounting table can be published as well in this section. 

Discussion 

In this section, authors are invited to add at least one of the following topics:

  • A short interpretation of the results: are the reported data comparable to other published data on ecosystem extent, condition or services or do they deviate substantially. 
  • Critique or comments on the SEEA EA framework. Identify issues with application of the framework. Highlight areas for improvement or further research.
  • Demonstration of how the accounts have been or can be used to support policy and decision making or implementation. Particular cases of interest are (however, not restricted to) agricultural, forestry, fishery and biodiversity policies, biodiversity and ecosystem monitoring and reporting, ecosystem restoration projects, demonstrating values of ecosystems, or environmental impact assessments.

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