Environmental Accounting in Action

Environmental Accounting in Action

Case Studies from Southern Africa

Glenn-Marie Lange, Rashid Hassan, Kirk Hamilton and Moortaza Jiwanji

Environmental Accounting in Action studies the experiences of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, the core countries of a unique, regional environmental accounting programme in Southern Africa. Covering minerals, forestry, fisheries and water, each chapter provides important lessons about sustainable resource management. As a whole, the case studies demonstrate how to overcome the many challenges of constructing environmental accounts and the mechanics of successful implementation. By providing a transparent system of information about the relationship between human activities and the environment, the accounts have improved policy dialogue among different stakeholders and have played a significant role in environmental policy design.

Chapter 3: Forestry Accounts: Capturing the Value of Forest and Woodland Resources

Rashid Hassan

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics


Rashid Hassan 3.1 INTRODUCTION The social and economic benefits of forests and woodland (F&WL) resources are many. Tangible products such as fuel wood, wild foods and medicinal products are harvested from F&WL for direct consumption by millions of people around the world. Timber is also extracted from F&WL by commercial logging firms for further processing and by households for various domestic uses (fencing and construction). Non-timber products of F&WL such as gum and rattan are also processed and traded. In addition F&WL resources provide several other direct and indirect use benefits and ecological services. Examples include recreational amenities, watershed protection and carbon sequestration benefiting other economic sectors. F&WL also serve as the habitat for highly valuable biological resources and provide many social, religious and cultural benefits to human communities. As the source of these many benefits to people, F&WL resources clearly constitute an important part of total national wealth, and depletion (appreciation) and degradation of quality will decrease (increase) long-term social welfare. Unfortunately neither the flow benefits of F&WL resources nor their asset values are adequately captured in the current system of national accounts (SNA). Various factors contribute to the inadequacy of the SNA to fully capture F&WL resources’ contributions to economic welfare. The fact that the SNA includes values of produced outputs that are traded in the market is the main reason for missing non-market flow benefits of F&WL resources. Although the production and asset boundaries have been expanded...

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