The objective of this paper was to use a modified Jones (1996) natural capital inventory model to construct a baseline inventory of species, as well as the number of individual specimens against which future increases and decreases in the fern inventory of NZ University can be measured. By comparing historical records to the fern inventory, the paper provides some preliminary views on the university’s stewardship of ferns. The study found that although the natural inventory model developed by Jones (1996) has utility in informing research into measuring and inventory of biodiversity and natural assets, it has inherent limitations when applied to situations involving complex accountabilities. While the relative simplicity of the model makes it a helpful tool for thinking about management of natural capital in ‘wilderness’ contexts, its usefulness in urban and already modified environments is more doubtful. A new model which takes into account complex accountability relationships was developed. This is the first paper that considers the accounting for biodiversity by a higher education provider.
Keywords: biodiversity, natural capital, stewardship, accountability, environment, ferns, accountability model