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Distributional issues in natural capital accounting: an application to land ownership and ecosystem services in Scotland

Atkinson, Giles and Ovando, Paola (2021) Distributional issues in natural capital accounting: an application to land ownership and ecosystem services in Scotland. Environmental and Resource Economics. ISSN 0924-6460

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10640-021-00613-6

Abstract

Accounting for ecosystems is increasingly central to natural capital accounting. What is missing from this, however, is an answer to questions about how natural capital is distributed. That is, who consumes ecosystem services and who owns or manages the underlying asset(s) that give rise to ecosystem services. In this paper, we examine the significance of the ownership of land on which ecosystem assets (or ecosystem types) is located in the context of natural capital accounting. We illustrate this in an empirical application to two ecosystem services and a range of ecosystem types and land ownership in Scotland, a context in which land reform debates are longstanding. Our results indicate the relative importance of private land in ecosystem service supply, rather than land held by the public sector. We find relative concentration of ownership for land providing comparatively high amounts of carbon sequestration. For air pollution removal, however, the role of smaller to medium sized, mostly privately owned, land holdings closer to urban settlements becomes more prominent. The contributions in this paper, we argue, represent important first steps in anticipating distributional impacts of natural capital (and related) policy in natural capital accounts as well as connecting these frameworks to broader concerns about wealth disparities across and within countries.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.springer.com/journal/10640
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors, under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q56 - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounting; Environmental Equity
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q57 - Ecological Economics: Ecosystem Services; Biodiversity Conservation; Bioeconomics
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 13:39
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2022 08:27
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/112171

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