Alberta Land Institute Natural Capital in Agriculture Workshop
Alberta Land Institute
The objective of this Alberta Land Institute workshop was to explore the potential for the development of a natural capital account for agriculture in Alberta (and potentially beyond). The workshop explored the need for/use of such information, the conceptual frameworks associated with the development of natural capital or inclusive wealth measures, data availability, and other issues surrounding natural capital accounting.
The workshop was partly motivated by the fact that Statistics Canada has long been active in the development and reporting of natural resource accounts for energy resources, timber and minerals but agricultural accounts have not been developed to the same extent. An agricultural land natural capital account could inform questions associated with the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes, the role of agricultural land in the provision of market ecosystem services (crops, livestock) and non-market services (recreation, carbon, etc.), and also address questions regarding productive capacity in agriculture. However, a number of conceptual and empirical limitations remain in the construction of natural capital accounts for agriculture, including the use of appropriate shadow prices and obtaining appropriate data for inclusion in an account.
Robert Smith was invited to participate in the workshop to offer his expertise in natural capital accounting and the valuation of ecosystem goods and services. He presented Canada’s experience in NCA based on his long experience as Director of Environmental Accounts and Statistics at Statistics Canada. He actively participated in the workshop discussions and contributed to its overall success.