Natural capital summarizes all elements of nature that directly or indirectly produce value for people, including ecosystems, species, freshwater, land, minerals, air and oceans, as well as the natural processes and functions connecting and interacting with them. (Reid 2005) 1). The OECD (2007)2) sets the focus on the natural capital’s feature of providing natural resource inputs and environmental services for economic production. The natural capital can be divided into two major sections:
- abiotic natural capital including subsoil assets (e.g. fossil fuels, minerals, metals) and abiotic flows such as wind and solar energy
- biotic natural capital or ecosystem capital that consists of ecosystems delivering a wide range of valuable services being essential for human well-being.
In the AlpES project the focus lies on biotic natural capital, however it also takes abiotic processes into consideration, as some aspects are of special interest for the alpine space (minerals, wind, etc.). They are not assessed or mapped explicitly though.