Existing environmental indicators focus primarily on the environmental impact of the economy and society. On the other hand, welfare measurement is largely restricted to the contribution that consumer goods make to our prosperity. The purpose of new environmental indicators is to show the contribution to national welfare made by ecosystem services that complement economic reporting and serve as an additional basis for national environmental and resource policies. Within the scope of a feasibility study, a new concept for the identification of “final” ecosystem services – ecosystem services that generate a direct effect on the population's welfare – was tested. The concept involves the listing and operationalisation of relevant final ecosystem services and the benefits they generate for the population in an inventory. The indicators developed in this way were tested for their validity, comprehensibility, usability, feasibility and compatibility. It showed that while they permit statements to be formulated on the effect on welfare made by ecosystem services, their validity for other issues associated with ecosystem services is restricted. Their contribution for environmental policies thus lies, in particular, in problem recognition and the setting of strategic goals. While the concept proves to be feasible, the demarcation of the individual services as well as their implementation based on already available data is challenging. On the basis of this analysis, work is currently taking place on an initial inventory of final ecosystem services for Switzerland.

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