TEEB-Russia: towards national ecosystem accounting
Russia’s ecosystems and ecosystem services (ES) are critical not only for the country’s economy and well-being of the people but also for maintaining biodiversity and biosphere regulation around the world. Thus, the introduction of ecosystem accounting in Russia is an urgent national and international goal to which the TEEB-Russia project is dedicated. In this publication, we briefly review and discuss the main project results. Based on currently available open statistical and cartographic data, TEEB-Russia project conducted the first national assessment of terrestrial ES in Russia to derive methodological approaches to national ecosystem accounting. A range of indicators were used to assess the ES provided by ecosystems (potential) as well as the level of demand and consumption of ES by Russia’s regions, both for populations and economies. Indicators of ecosystem assets include extent (ecosystem size) and condition (productivity, phytomass, bird and plant species diversity). An analysis of the correlations between indicators of ES and ecosystem assets showed that a system of national ecosystem accounting in Russia should be regionally differentiated to take account of the strong heterogeneity of natural conditions and the socio-economic development at this level. Decision-making in spatial planning and ecosystem management should carefully consider the difference between causal relationships between indicators and correlations that arise from the simultaneous response of indicators to changes in other factors. Differences in relationships between indicators at different spatial scales should also be taken into account.