Natural capital is the world's stock of natural resources, which includes geology, soils, air, water and all living organisms. Natural capital 'assets' such as habitats and ecosystems provide a wide range of benefits to human wellbeing, known as ecosystem services.
SNH has tested this approach on land that we own or substantially manage, mainly as National Nature Reserves. Where possible we have tried to attribute a monetary value to benefits from nature.
This natural capital account is the first to be produced for SNH land. It uses an experimental methodology which needs further refinement but has been trialled as part of our role in promoting the concept of natural capital.
Not all ecosystem services could be valued (for example, flood management) so the full value may be much higher.
This work matters because all land owners and managers whether public or private need to be considering how best to use their land to benefit society. To do this they - and we - need good information on the state of the natural assets and the benefits it provides. As a result of this work, we are reviewing our NNR Reserve Management Plan to maximise natural capital returns of our NNRs in particular in terms of their contribution to the climate emergency.