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Ecosystem accounting has been developed as a systematic approach to incorporate measures of ecosystem services and ecosystem assets into an accounting structure. Ecosystem accounting involves spatially explicit modelling of ecosystem services and assets, in both physical and monetary terms. A range of recent studies has tested the various elements of ecosystem accounting, and an initial guideline for ecosystem accounting has been prepared under auspices of the UN. This paper summarizes the current knowledge of key aspects of ecosystem accounting, analyses its niche in the overall system for environmental-economic accounting, and provides three examples of how ecosystem accounting can support sustainable development. We also discuss the main limitations of the approach and issues requiring further research.
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