Natural capital includes the physical and biophysical components of an ecosystem working together to produce a flow of services to the economy and to society that support human well-being. An ecosystem service thus represents a type of transaction between natural capital and humans and can be considered within tools to support Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) decision making. A natural capital perspective can be a useful way to put the value of ecosystems on par with other socioeconomic values in an EBM decision context. Further, the application of structured classifications for ecosystem components, human beneficiaries (users), and a suite of flows of final ecosystem services helps EBM practitioners organize information for a given decision context. This chapter explores the utility of natural capital accounting as a tool for EBM, outlines a standardized framework for natural capital accounting, and summarizes an ecosystem services classification system for natural capital accounting that can be used as an EBM tool, especially relevant for the decision-making step of evaluating management options (e.g., scenarios).
Read the chapter in the book Ecosystem-Based Management, Ecosystem Services, and Aquatic Biodiversity.