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Environmental accounts for land cover: their contribution to ‘state of the environment’ reporting

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This paper critically reviews the way land-cover stock and change data are used for ‘state of the environment’ reporting. The paper considers the relative merits of the indicator approach as opposed to one based on natural resource accounting. It is shown that indicators have a number of shortcomings as measures of the sustainability of land-cover change, and that land-cover accounts offer a more rigorous framework in which to develop and test policy. The argument draws upon the experience gained in the preparation of land-cover accounts for Great Britain using data from Countryside Survey 1990.

Keywords: Countryside Survey 1990; environmental accounts; land-cover change; natural resource accounts; sustainability indicators; ‘state of the environment’ reporting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD email: roy.haines-young@nottingham.ac.uk

Publication date: December 1, 1999

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