New natural capital reports published
17 September 2018
Four new reports on natural capital have been published which will enable governments and businesses to take an evidence-based approach to valuing the UK's natural assets.
Natural capital refers to the assets within our natural environment that provide benefits for humans. Plants, animals, freshwater, soil, minerals, air and oceans all contribute to natural capital. The concept lies at the heart of the UK government's recently published 25 Year Environment Plan and is set to play an increasingly influential role in public policy and business decision-making.
The new reports, published by the Valuing Nature programme, summarise the science available to inform a natural capital approach in four key areas:
- The natural capital valuation of floodplains in relation to preventing floods, storing carbon, and supporting biodiversity - The natural capital of floodplains report - external link
- The natural capital valuation of soil in relation to producing food, storing carbon and regulating water supply - The soil natural capital valuation in agri-food businesses report - external link
- Natural capital trade-offs from the afforestation of peatlands in relation to the effect on storing carbon, controlling water supply, supporting biodiversity, providing recreational spaces and preserving a record of the past - The natural capital trade-offs in afforested peatlands report - external link
- How businesses are using natural capital assessments in practice - The monetary natural capital assessment in the private sector report - external link
A fifth report on the natural capital of temporary rivers - external link - has already been published, highlighting their varied benefits, including biodiversity, plus drought and flood control.
The reports, funded by NERC, also identify evidence gaps and make recommendations for further collaborative action by government, business and academia. For example, the authors recommend further research into the effect of changes in land use and climate on soil, and identify the need for better datasets to enable monetary assessments of natural capital.
The Valuing Nature programme will run a series of webinars on the reports. If you would like to receive information on these webinars sign-up to the Valuing Nature Network - external link.
These reports were funded by NERC as a Policy & Practice Impact Award (PPIA) under the umbrella of the Valuing Nature programme. This funding opportunity was focused on accelerating the coordinated and transformative policy impact of NERC's strategic research investments through the delivery of tangible policy- and practice-facing outputs. For a full list of PPIA funding, please see the PPIA page.