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Environmental Accounting in Italian Marine Protected Areas

Implementation of a management framework for marine protected areas, based on quantifying natural capital and ecosystem services, and integrated with financial reporting

By the University of Genoa DiSTAV, Department of Earth, Environment and Life Sciences


Project summary of activities performed from 2014 to 2022 in the Cinque Terre MPA (objectives and results)
The project document "Environmental Accounting in Italian Marine Protected Areas", proposed by Federparchi and MPAs in April 2014 (Federparchi, 2014; Franzese et al., 2015) foresaw and briefly outlined the basis and procedures necessary to perform environmental accounting, providing fundamental steps (Phases) in which the project is developed.

The project phases are:

  • Phase 0: Overview of the availability of MPA nature accounting data
  • Phase 1: Accounting for the ecological and economic value of MPA environmental assets
  • Phase 2: Identification of ecosystem functions and services
  • Phase 3: Accounting for environmental and economic costs
  • Phase 4: Accounting for environmental and economic benefits
  • Phase 5: Accounting for environmental flows and the net benefit of the MPA
  • Phase 6: Data management computerisation and accounting system development.

Within the framework of the Organisational Agreement signed between DISTAV-UniGe and the Cinque Terre Marine Protected Area, all the activities planned within the different Phases of the project design have been completed, thus creating an environmental accounting system based on the quantification of the value, also monetary, of the MPA's natural capital, the benefits generated, and the costs sustained, both from the ecological and economic point of view. The years considered so far are from 2014 to 2021.

Planned activities for 2022

  1. Updating the ecological and monetary value of the MPA's environmental assets with the new data available for 2022.

  2. Updating the environmental and economic costs and benefits, as well as the integrated balance sheet of the MPA framework through the collection of new data for the year 2022, related to: 1) the use of bathing, recreational diving, yachting, sport and recreational fishing, as well as artisanal professional fishing; 2) the MPA institutional activities; 3) the MPA expenses and revenues (financial budget);

  3. Updating the IT system to improve the authorisation system and implement a SDSS (decision support system) for managers.

Expected results

Strong MPA environmental sustainability report, able to assess both ecological and economic performance

Project duration: every four years from 2014 to 2018, every year from 2019 onwards

(photo by: Davide Lopresti)

(photo by: Davide Lopresti)

(photo by: Davide Lopresti)

(photo by: Davide Lopresti)
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