Gross ecosystem product (GEP): Quantifying nature for environmental and economic policy innovation

Hua Zheng, Tong Wu, Zhiyun Ouyang, Stephen Polasky, Mary Ruckelshaus, Lijuan Wang, Yi Xiao, Xiaolong Gao, Cong Li, Gretchen C. Daily

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The large-scale loss of ecosystem assets around the world, and the resultant reduction in the provision of nature’s benefits to people, underscores the urgent need for better metrics of ecological performance as well as their integration into decision-making. Gross ecosystem product (GEP) is a measure of the aggregate monetary value of final ecosystem-related goods and services in a specific area and for a given accounting period. GEP accounting captures the use of many ecosystem services in production processes across the economy, which are then valued in terms of their benefits to society. GEP has five key elements that make it transparent, trackable, and readily understandable: (1) a focus on nature’s contributions to people; (2) the measurement of ecosystem assets as stocks and ecosystem services as flows; (3) the quantification of ecosystem service use; (4) an understanding of ecosystem service supply chains through value realization; and (5) the disaggregation of benefits across groups. Correspondingly, a series of innovative policies based on GEP have been designed and implemented in China. The theoretical and practical lessons provided by these experiences can support continued policy innovation for green and inclusive development around the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1952-1967
Number of pages16
JournalAmbio
Volume52
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Ecosystem accounting
  • Ecosystem assets
  • Ecosystem services
  • Gross ecosystem product
  • Nature’s contribution to people
  • Valuing nature

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