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LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 ACCOUNTING FOR SOIL IN THE SEEA.

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Presentation on theme: "LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 ACCOUNTING FOR SOIL IN THE SEEA."— Presentation transcript:

1 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 ACCOUNTING FOR SOIL IN THE SEEA - II Session 4 Issues related to assets accounts Jean-Louis Weber European Environment Agency

2 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Storyline Following the presentation in the Rome 2007 LG meeting, a proposal for soil accounting has been asked to EEA & FAO. Such proposal has not yet been drafted. In the last year, soil have attracted higher attention in relation to: –The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity process steered by EC/DGENV, UNEP and the German BMU; –creation of a soil data centre in the European Joint Research Centre –the concern of future availability of soil resource for facing the new food demand and competing agrofuels; –clear understanding that carbon sequestration is to a large extent a soil issue, both considering agriculture practice [eg tillage] and forestry – see issue paper LG13_5 on Carbon binding of forests

3 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Soil in SEEA In the SEEA2003 Classification of assets, soil is: –an attribute of land, as in SNA93 –a natural resource Soil is just mentioned per memory in the SEEA2003 Ch8. As an attribute of land, soil has an economic value associated to land use. This is correct. The status of soil as a natural resource is not clear in the SEEA. Natural resources are extracted to become input to production. It is just marginally the case of soil. Soil can be used without any depletion; misuse of soil degrades or destroys soil. Soil should be accounted as an ecosystem as well, described by stocks and flows of components, health/resilience (stress and distress), functions and services.

4 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Carbon storage & sequestration by soil: a flow account Overall Annual Net Increase in Atmospheric Carbon Movement of C out of atmosphere (gigatons C/year) Incorporation into biosphere through photosynthesis Diffusion into oceans Carbon flux into atmosphere (gigatons C/year) Fossil fuel burning Soil organic matter oxidation / erosion Respiration from organisms in biosphere Deforestation Source: Christine Jones, The Soil Carbon Manifesto

5 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Forest, soil and carbon binding

6 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Forest, soil and carbon binding soil is a sink of and a source of GHGs – the most important one beyond forest soil, agriculture soil and grassland play the essential role agriculture practices can result in sequestration or release of CO2 (and release of CH4) accounting for soil carbon should follow IPCC recommendation and make the broadest use of IPCC/UNFCCC monitoring and FAO statistics

7 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 OC_TOP:Topsoil Organic Carbon Copyright 2004 Eurasian Soil Database ESB Network

8 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 ??? Soil as a natural resource The classification of soil within SEEA2003 natural resources is questionable. When all other EA.1 Natural Resources are used by extraction, soil is used in situ – with the 2 exceptions of: –some use by horticulture and green houses, and flowers in pots; note that in this case, soil matter is used more than once and should be accounted as a capital good. –destruction of soil without using its biological properties (sealing, compaction) and partly erosion (an unwanted consequence) Similar difficulty with water, partly abstractable natural resource [the SEEA2003 favorite option] partly used in situ [in particular as soil water for vegetation – reintroduced in SEEAW]

9 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 ??? Soil depletion and/or degradation Soil can be used without physical depletion or degradation (e.g. with systems of crops rotation, extensive pasture, soil protection target in DE is 500 years) Degradation of the soil of a particular parcel of land may result from external causes (e.g. upstream deforestation leading to erosion, atmospheric depositions...) Effects of soil depletion/degradation on agriculture are delayed over time: are these externalities within current value of crops?? No... Cost of replacing nutrients losses by mineral fertilizers is an imperfect provisional proxy – as the use of these fertilizers generates further degradation and co-lateral pollution ??? Depletion deals with adjusting rents while degradation deals with an additional consumption of renewable natural capital???

10 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Soil as an ecosystem As an ecosystem, soil can be described by stocks and flows of components, health/resilience (stress and distress), functions and services. Soil is multifunctionnal (carbon storage, water purification, food production, etc) Soil is a socio-ecological system depending highly from both natural and anthropogenic factors The maintenance costs of soils are well known by agronomists… in developed and developing countries

11 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Soil is a socio-ecological system fertilizers soil structure capacity Simplified model of soil system under conditions of organic (left) and intensive (right) farming. [Yellow arrows: recycling of nutrients from dead organic matter] Courtesy Ladislav Miko

12 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Stocks, flows, threats and resilience Stocks of soil are assessed as complex material described by soil typology. They can be measured as well for each main components: minerals, biomass, Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (N, P, K, the 3 main fertilizing elements), fauna, flora and water. Flow accounts can be (are) established for these components: –In asset accounts –In flow accounts (SUA, PIOT, Hybrid…) Soils are as well ecosystems which resilience depends from their biodiversity

13 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Soil biodiversity Soil is the more species-rich habitat of terrestrial ecosystems Soil's fauna is certainly not the most fashionable but the functions it carries out are essential for biodiversity in general, i.e. for life. Source: Thibaud Decaëns, Juan José Jiménez, Christophe Gioia, Patrick Lavelle, The values of soil animals for conservation biology, European Journal of Soil Biology, 2006

14 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Functions of soil are multiple (a) the production function, producing crops; (b) the carrier function, bearing traffic and buildings; (c) the filter, buffer and reactor function, allowing transformations of solutes passing through; (d) the resource function, providing base material for industry; (e) the habitat function, providing a living environment for plants and animals and (f) the cultural and historic function, reflecting past practices. (from Johan Bouma 2006) (g) the climate regulating function, by storing organic and inorganic carbon and sequestrating soil organic carbon (SOC) and by regulating water storage and evapotranspiration

15 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Threats to soil Erosion Organic matter decline Compaction Salinisation Landslides Contamination Sealing

16 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008

17 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Implementation strategy: Physical accounts Knowledge on soils in countries and international organisations [first of all FAO] is huge Risk: being lost in the many, classification of soil types, databases, and maps Start from the analysis of ecosystem services Then back from services to descriptors of stocks, flows, resilience, stress [digital functional mapping approach] Generalization of flows, threshold values on the basis of soil maps and databases

18 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Implementation strategy: valuation Valuation of flows: –one by one: non-market end use ecosystem services [cultural and regulating services, including climate regulation]. How far can it be aggregated? Loss of income resulting from losses in fertility as an issue. –holistically: additional costs for maintaining soil potential full maintenance and restoration costs of soils in domestic products full maintenance cost of soils in imports NB: cost of replacing nutrients losses by fertilizers is an imperfect provisional proxy. Valuation of assets: –Market price of land [sales, rents...] = mainly for agriculture land –Inclusive wealth ???

19 LONDON GROUP MEETING BRUSSELS, 29 SEPTEMBER – 3 OCTOBER 2008 Thank you!


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