Many of the countries in the Asia and Pacific region are on a path of development similar to the one taken by Europe and the United States over the past few centuries. This form of development focuses on growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Costanza et al. 2014) with little regard to damages to natural and social capital. This kind of development replaces natural capital with built capital (Kubiszewski et al. 2013) which in turn damages ecosystem services in the process. This pattern of development also increases income and wealth inequality while damaging social capital in the process.
Ecosystem services are a major contributor to sustainable human well-being (Costanza et al. 1997; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) 2005). GDP growth focused development has already had a significant negative impact on the global value of ecosystem services. Between 1997 and 2011 the global value of ecosystem services decreased by an estimated USD 20 trillion/yr due to land use change (Costanza et al. 2014). This is a loss comparable to about 1/3 of the global GDP in 2011.
This paper develops and evaluates ecosystem services scenarios for the Asia and the Pacific region out to the year 2050. It shows the consequences of various policy decisions on land-use and the value of ecosystem services.
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