Environmental Accounting of Forest Resources in Italy: Some Recent Developments
The paper reviews the main inadequacies of the Italian current System of National Accounting for the forestry sector. In recent years research and applications have been developed in Italy to overcome some of these inadequacies. The paper presents two case studies of environmental accounting of forestry resources at regional/national level: the first one is an economic estimate of the role of the forestry sector in the Liguria Region (north-west Italy). The proposed satellite system of forest resources account is based on a Geographical Information System (GIS) comprising an extremely diversified set of physical data, associated with economic information collected through the use of various evaluation methods (Travel Cost Method, Contingent Valuation, reconstruction costs, opportunity costs, etc.). Production of wood and non-wood forest products, soil erosion control, landscape protection, carbon fixing, provision of outdoor recreational areas are taken into account in the proposed System of Regional Accounting for the forestry sector. The second case study consists of a tentative estimate of damage costs from forest fires occurring in Italy over the past eleven years. Official statistical data related to financial costs deriving from forest fires are compared with the results of a tentative estimate of some social costs. Results from the two case studies could be used to evaluate the real contribution of forest activities to national economy and to better orientate public funding and defensive expenditures in the forestry sector.