Marine Natural Capital

© Heather Davison-Smith
Natural capital is a phrase used to describe the services provided to us by the natural environment.

Some of these services are immediately recognisable, such as food and water, but others are less visible, like climate regulation and recreational opportunities.  Understanding more about the value of these services (whether monetised or not) allows us to monitor changes over time, and to make sure that the services are properly considered during the decision-making process.

The natural capital approach is intended to provide an alternative perspective and set of tools that can improve understanding of the value of the environment, our dependence on it, and the wider implications of allowing it to decline.  When the environment is given its due regard as a natural asset and a key contributor to the overall economy, it is more likely that it will be protected and enhanced.

© Heather Davison-Smith

Over the last few years, there has been a movement towards including the natural capital approach in policy development as it can provide a common framework to bring together scientific, economic and societal considerations.  So far, much of the work has been done in the terrestrial environment, but significant steps have been taken through the Marine Pioneer Project to understand how the natural capital approach might apply to the marine and coastal environment.

© Jamie Johnson

On the Yorkshire coast, we are starting to develop our understanding of the wide-ranging services provided to us by the marine ecosystem.  Working with our partners across the region, we are exploring how a marine natural capital accounting system might work, and how it could link with a terrestrial system. We have started this process by reviewing the work carried out so far, identifying current gaps in knowledge and highlighting the different aspects of marine natural capital on the Yorkshire coast.

© Heather Davison-Smith

Exploring how the natural capital approach might be implemented on the Yorkshire coast

The ‘Connecting the Dots’ project was funded by the Championing Coastal Coordination Fund and supported by the North York Moors National Park Trust.  Read the report and watch the films at the link below

Connecting the Dots

View our other active projects and activities

The YMNP works with an ever-growing network of partners to identify key knowledge gaps, develop new projects, support existing activities, and enable innovative progress.

Back to all projects