Healthy landscapes of the future will need to simultaneously deliver both agricultural and environmental outcomes. Environmental accounting can help deliver such landscapes.
Photo credit: Chris Pollard

By Rowan Alden Hull, Leon Barmuta, Elizabeth Pinkard, Menna Jones, Vanessa Adams, Chia-Chin Lin, and Claire Horner.

This Plain Language Summary is published ahead of the article discussed; check back soon for a link to the full paper.

Competing land-use demands for agriculture and nature conservation is one of the most significant global challenges. To improve the health of landscapes, collaborative transdisciplinary solutions are required. Environmental accounting is an attractive governance approach for helping to deliver healthy future landscapes; however, the diversity of approaches to environmental accounting makes this field complex to navigate, which limits transdisciplinary collaboration and impedes implementation.

We seek to address this issue by presenting a new framework to clarify environmental accounting. This framework classifies the currently disparate branches of the literature into four newly described environmental accounting types – Organisational Environmental Management Accounting, Organisational Environmental Reporting Accounting, Area Environmental Management Accounting, and Area Environmental Reporting Accounting. The framework is then used to discuss, across multiple scales (organisational, ecosystem and national), existing environmental accounting tools which could assist in delivering healthy future landscapes, and areas for future research.

Finally, we demonstrate the potential for environmental accounting research approaches (materiality assessment, dialogic accounting, and critical accounting) to assist in defining healthy future landscapes. This paper presents the first substantial exploration of environmental accounting in the landscapes context and presents a research agenda to progress this exciting area of transdisciplinary research.