New directions in environmental economics

Perman, R.J.; (2001) New directions in environmental economics. In: "Forest Environmental Value Accounting". International Symposium on Forest Value Accounting. International Tropical Timber Association, pp. 16-21.

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PD 39/98 Rev.2 (M) is a globally important and pioneering project* whose objectives are to make an assessment of China's tropical forest resources and to develop a theory and methodology by which they may be valued and incorporated into the country's national accounts. There is a presumption that these values are currently set at zero or at least below their true level, as part of one specific objective is to "renovate tropical forest values". Recent policy directions, both in China and globally, underpin the relevance of this project. China Agenda 21 forestry proposals had already addressed the issue of forestry accounting in 1994, a practical need for, inter alia , implementation of a policy to retire certain categories of farmland and plant them with forest trees, a policy requiring a fair means of assessing compensation to the farmers affected. Furthermore, by 1998, the Government had banned logging in natural tropical forests, adding urgency to the task of valuing the contributions to national welfare of the non-timber and intangible benefits originating in these forests. The project builds on earlier work undertaken on natural resource accounting in China by Li Jinchang, an external adviser to the current project and also upon the study conducted by the present Project Director and his team in 1995 which computed a value of 13,000 billion yuan for China's total forest asset, mostly environmental value. International research also provided some pointers through the UNSTAT "System of Integrated Environment and National Economic Accounting" (SEEA) in 1994 and work by international organizations such as the OECD and the EU, besides a number of studies at the national level in Europe, Canada and Japan. It is now over a decade since the UNCED Conference had urged nations to incorporate environmental values into the national accounts.