Natural capital (NC) accounts measure and value the benefits that ecosystems provide to humans. Marine biodiversity supports human well-being directly by providing a source of food (e.g. wild fish), and indirectly by providing employment (e.g. fisheries, and tourism) and recreation (e.g. diving). The inclusion of the marine environment in NC accounting is relatively new. Central to the NC framework, biodiversity is one of the most challenging aspects to account for. Here, we consider the potential for marine biodiversity to be included in NC accounts, and explain why this is in line with current policy directions towards achieving sustainability and well-being. We present a set of potential indicators that could be used to assess ecosystem extent and ecosystem condition through their biodiversity, and inform policies aimed to improve sustainability and human well-being. We conclude that including biological indicators in NC accounts will help to consider marine biodiversity conservation and economic activities in blue spaces as complementary components of well-being. NC accounts can facilitate decision-making by showing, in few interconnected tables, trends in the provision of biodiversity in a specific area and for specific ecosystems. This makes potential trade-offs between ecosystems, ecosystem services, and economic activities more apparent.
- Ecosystem services
- Sustainable development