System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) Experimental Ecosystem Accounting – Manual

System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) Experimental Ecosystem Accounting – Manual


UN, EC, FAO, OECD, World Bank

Type(s) of Tool

GuidelinesOperationalize sustainability principles, less specific than Benchmarks or Rating Systems.


Tools applicable to all sectors

Lifecycle Phase(s)

Strategic PlanningPublic authorities identify the needs and long-term vision for infrastructure development., Project PlanningGeneral strategy for a project’s delivery is developed.

Open Source


Language Availability


Country of Origin


Date of Development



The SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting is a measurement framework for biophysical data, tracking changes and linking them to economic and other human activity from the perspective of entire ecosystems, considering how individual environmental assets interact as part of natural processes within a given spatial area. To do so, the tool applies the accounting concepts and rules to the emerging field of ecosystem assessment and measurement in response to demands for integrated information on environmental sustainability, human wellbeing and economic growth and development. It offers a system of five accounts that together present comprehensive view of ecosystems and their services.

Tool Outcome

The SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting provides the user with an accounting framework for entire ecosystems. The tool enables the user to measure biophysical data, track changes in ecosystems and link them to human activities.

Sustainability Criteria

The SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting has a system of five accounts that present a coherent and comprehensive view of ecosystems:
– Ecosystem extent account: This account serves as a common starting point for ecosystem accounting. It organizes information on the extent of different ecosystem types within a country in terms of area.
– Ecosystem condition account: This account measures the overall quality of an ecosystem asset and captures, in a set of key indicators, the state or functioning of the ecosystem in relation to both its naturalness and its potential to supply ecosystem services.
– Ecosystem services accounts: This set of ecosystem accounts measures the supply of ecosystem services as well as their corresponding beneficiaries, classified by broad national accounting categories or other groupings of economic units.
– Monetary asset account: This account records the monetary value of opening and closing stocks of all ecosystem assets within an ecosystem accounting area and additions and reduction to those stock.
– Thematic accounts: This set of accounts, which cover accounts for land, water, carbon and biodiversity, are standalone accounts on topics of their own right and are also of direct relevance in the measurement of ecosystems and in assessing policy response.