Forest Enterprise England, the land management agency of the Forestry Commission, has become the first organisation to publish an organisation-wide Natural Capital Account. It seeks to quantify the full value of the services provided by the natural assets on its entire 254,000 hectare landholding.

Although the account is initially only partial, it includes detailed management costs and commercial returns from the estate alongside a valuation of the benefits to society such as recreation and climate regulation. More functions that may offer significant higher value, such as air and water quality and flood risk mitigation, need further research before being included.

Chief Executive Simon Hodgson said:

“I am extremely proud that we are the first organisation to produce a Natural Capital Account that begins to show the full value of the benefits derived from the land we manage on behalf of the nation.

“We know this first step needs developing and will work with others to refine existing estimates and expand the coverage to include more areas including air and water quality and flood risk mitigation.

“Without these refinements we know the indicative £11.9bn value is likely to be an underestimate of the full value. We see this as providing an order of magnitude valuation based on best data available and should be interpreted as such.

“As we move forward, I see this becoming a valuable strategic management tool complementing our decision-making processes, allowing us to track the condition of natural capital and its value to help us understand the values and trade-offs in maintaining the full value of England’s woods and forests.”

The account has been developed with eftec environmental economics consultants and uses the Natural Capital Committee’s agreed framework.

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