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  • Writer's pictureNCI Team

INCASE BLOG: Key messages from new paper on applying natural capital in an Irish catchment context

In the latest blog over on the INCASE site, project ecologist Dr Catherine Farrell outlines key findings from the team's newly published paper - using the UN's System of Environmental Economic Accounting-Ecosystem Accounting to map and assess the extent & condition of natural stocks at catchment level in Ireland for the first time, focusing on the very varied Dargle catchment of Co Dublin/Wicklow.

Dr Farrell writes: "Anyone who owns anything understands the concept of a stock take. And we often hear the phrase 'taking stock' in relation to assessing where we are at – either in a project, in life, in training – whatever endeavour we are taking part in. Makes sense doesn’t it? Before we can move on, we must understand what we have achieved, where we are at, or what we have, before we head into the next work of the future.

Stock is something we look after, or we build on, depending on our perspective. From solid stocks flow reliable benefits. So too with natural systems, from land to sea. Take our freshwater systems - how many rivers and lakes do we have? Are they big, small, are they changing in number or extent? Are they working well enough to support those that depend on them (think people, but also salmon and trout) and what is the water like within? Is it clear enough to see through to a gravel bed or is it dark and murky like a bog hole?

Part of the work of INCASE is to build a picture of how our natural stocks are doing – where and what they are, and what condition or quality (think health check) they are in. If stocks are in good health, they work for us, but if they are suffering or declining, they won’t work as well and we can’t rely on them. Unless of course, we take time to look after them – to nurse them back to health – that means to re-invest...

...The fruits of our labour are mapped out in a publication on geosystem services from 2020 and another specifically on ecosystems, in what we in the INCASE team called our Stocks paper, published in One Ecosystem in April 2021. The paper explains it all, but we've tried to condense some of the key messages that might inspire you to have a more in-depth read..."

Read these key findings in the full blog at and sign up free for updates on he projects next steps...

The INCASE (Ireland's Natural Capital for Sustainable Environments) team showcased their work across a number of sessions at the Ecosystem Services Partnership Europe Regional conference on 7-10 June, 2021 and a special session on natural capital accounting at SER2021 21-24 June.

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