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Natural Capital

What is the value of natural capital in the Netherlands?

Natural capital can be described with its qualitative, quantitative or monetary value (see “Qualitative, quantitative or monetary valuation”). Of seventeen ecosystem services the size and development has been quantified by the PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency and the Wageningen UR. Statistics Netherlands compiled in 2013 environmental accounts of the Dutch use of natural capital (see “Natural Capital Accounting (for governments)”) The available knowledge about the potential of natural capital in the Netherlands is collected in the Atlas Natural Capital. 

Ecosystem services in the Netherlands

The PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency has jointly with the Wageningen UR developed the Indicator Services by Nature. The goal is to quantify the size and development of goods and services from Dutch ecosystems. The indicator provides information on seventeen types of ecosystem services. To name one example, Dutch ecosystems fulfill 49% of the national need for freshwater. This share has decreased since 1990. The reliability of this ecosystem service is deemed to be moderate.

Knegt, de (ed.) (2014), p. 12. (in Dutch)

Atlas Natural Capital

The Atlas of Natural Capital of the Netherlands contains freely accessible maps with supporting data (downloadable by the end of 2015) on Dutch ecosystems and the services that they provide. The Atlas includes links to inspiring examples, information on the current value of natural capital in the Netherlands, and information on its potential, possibilities and barriers. The information has been gathered from a large number of Dutch and international knowledge institutions. The Atlas is structured in a way that enables businesses and governments to use it for (local) decision making in order to realize an optimal mix of services – and therefore optimal social benefit – in a given area. The Atlas is a source of information for:

  • Businesses and governments, to clarify their impact on natural capital (in the Netherlands) and to assist their decision-making;
  • Businesses, to reduce their negative impact on ecosystems and boost their positive impact, to make (better) use of the services that natural capital can provide and to support annual (environmental) reporting;
  • Community organizations, as a basis for targeted action and the identification of stakeholders;
  • Local governments, to support enhanced decision-making and licensing;
  • The national government, to report on the state of the nation’s natural capital and on realization of the associated international biodiversity targets;
  • Consumers, for intelligent information sourcing, e.g. for use in permit applications;
  • Volunteers, to obtain insight and operational perspective for community initiatives.

Experiences on mapping are being shared with all EU member states through the EU-MAES working group. 

More information on the Atlas Natural Capital website (also in English).