Environmental economic accounts are a way to integrate environmental and economic information about an area to better understand the relationships between the environment and the economy, particularly how environmental contributions benefit humanity.
The United Nations’ System of Environmental Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) provides a framework for organising data about habitats and landscapes, measuring ecosystem services, tracking changes in ecosystem assets, and linking this information to economic and other human activity.
This project used the SEEA EA framework to develop a set of pilot ecosystem accounts for the Mitchell River catchment in Far North Queensland.
Layout of the ecosystem accounts for the Mitchell River catchment.
The Mitchell River is located in Far North Queensland and flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Image: Resilient Landscapes Hub.
For tens of thousands of years prior to European invasion and settlement, the ancestors of today’s Traditional Owners of the Mitchell River catchment socialised the landscapes of the region as they managed land and water, fulfilled custodial responsibilities under customary law and maintained an economic system that sustained their way of life. This active management by Traditional Owners continues in many localities today, albeit under constrained conditions.
Brown CJ, Saint Ange C, Connolly RM, Hasan S, Jackson S, McMahon JM and Smart JCR (2023) ‘Ecosystem services in connected catchment to coast ecosystems: monitoring to detect emerging trends’, Science of the Total Environment 161670, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.161670.
McMahon JM, Hasan S, Brooks A, Curwen G, Dyke J, Ange CS, Smart JCR. (2022) ‘Challenges in modelling the sediment retention ecosystem service to inform an ecosystem account – examples from the Mitchell catchment in northern Australia’, Journal of Environmental Management 314:115102, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115102.
Dr Smart is being assisted by researchers from Griffith University and CSIRO as well as by land managers, rangers and others in the Mitchell River catchment.
This project is due for completion in June 2021.
Jim Smart, Griffith University