Towards a global map of natural capital: key ecosystem assets

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For the first time, a composite map of the world’s ecosystem assets has been produced, covering both marine and terrestrial realms. In this report for the UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment, UNEP-WCMC has combined information about key ecosystem assets into global maps. The assets included are freshwater resources, soil quality, organic carbon, terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and global fish catch (as a proxy for marine fish stocks). The report builds on a considerable body of work in the fields of natural capital accounting and the mapping of ecosystem services. The information from these maps will also help assess sustainability and the relationship between natural capital distribution and human welfare; land-use planning and an examination of the effects of land-use change on natural capital; and the trade-offs between different assets and services.

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